5 N.Y. Shops Pursue DoubleClick

Five New York agencies last week emerged as contenders for the North and South American advertising account of DoubleClick, a provider of online advertising services.

In the hunt are J. Walter Thompson, BBDO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey Worldwide and Gotham, a DoubleClick representative confirmed.

That field, according to sources, was culled from dozens of submissions from large and mid-sized agencies received by Pile and Co., the Boston consulting firm that is overseeing the review.

Spending is estimated at $20-25 million, and the work includes creative development and placement. Creative chores are with Digital Pulp, New York; media planning and buying are handled in-house.

Digital Pulp was invited to participate in the review but said it declined. It hopes to keep working with the client in some capacity, likely on Interactive marketing initiatives [Adweek, Dec. 18].

Of late, DoubleClick has relied on product-focused ads rather than an overall image approach, and efforts have no specific tagline, the company representative said.

DoubleClick executives expect to visit the five shops next week to check credentials and chemistry, and finalists will emerge shortly thereafter. Final presentations are scheduled for the week of Feb. 12.

The contenders were chosen based on their technology expertise and track records for building brands on a broad scale, said sources close to the process.

Though several Boston-area agencies initially attempted to enter the process, the New York-based client—accustomed to dealing with a hometown agency partner—limited the field to New York contenders, sources said.

DoubleClick is seeking an agency to help boost its image in the highly volatile Internet marketplace.

The company was dogged last year by high-profile lawsuits and claims that data gathered from Web banners infringes on consumer privacy; and a desire to redefine itself in the wake of such publicity is in part driving the review process, sources said.

DoubleClick last week issued a statement claiming more than half of the Fortune 100 companies are using its services to advertise online, including General Motors, Verizon Communications, Sprint, Motorola, and SBC Communications. Such penetration among blue chip companies may be touted in upcoming campaigns, sources said.