Bronner Mulls Trio

Three agencies are preparing to make final presentations for the branding assignment of a “socially conscious” e-commerce startup helmed by Michael Bronner, who 20 years ago founded the firm that grew into relationship marketing giant Digitas.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, and New York shops McCann-Erickson and Young & Rubicam are pitching the estimated $25-30 million assignment, sources said.
The three contenders are expected this week to make presentations to Bronner and other managers of the startup, provisionally known as Upromise or Lifetime, according to sources.
A winner may emerge before the end of the week.
Consultants with Pile and Co., Boston, which is overseeing the process, and agency executives de-clined comment.
Hill, Holliday handles several dot-coms, but Bronner’s ties to CEO Jack Connors, who stresses social values and community service, may be that shop’s strongest asset, sources said. In addition to big-brand experience, both McCann and Y&R formerly employed creative director Gordon Bowen, who has worked for Digitas and is assisting Bronner in evaluating agencies. Bowen could not be reached for comment.
Bronner confirmed hiring Pile and Co. but would not elaborate. Bronner has steadfastly declined to discuss the nature of his new venture, though he said its name will likely change before the formal launch later this year. There has been speculation that consumers will be able to accumulate points for purchases that would be applied toward a child’s education.
–with Kathleen Sampe