Easy Come, Easy Go

EarthLink Hires Its Third Shop in 6 Months
LOS ANGELES–In yet another example of a short lived agency-client relationship, EarthLink Networks last week parted ways with Ground Zero after just three weeks together, sources said.
The client is in talks with BBDO West, a finalist in its last review, to handle a $2-3 million test project, sources said.
Abrupt change seems to be a habit for EarthLink. Prior to Ground Zero, the company split with Mendelsohn/Zien Advertising in Los Angeles after four months, over “cultural” differences [Adweek, Jan. 11].
Ground Zero and EarthLink executives clashed at a recent meeting over how to develop ads for the Pasadena, Calif.-based Internet service provider, according to sources.
“We were going in separate directions in our thinking,” said Jim Smith, managing partner of Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif. “We tried to give them a clear point of view, but they were just dismissive.” He added, “I don’t think they understand how to work with an ad agency.”
While Smith said the agency was aware of the Mendelsohn episode, “We figured there were two sides to every story. You want to give people the benefit of the doubt.”
M/Z produced just one direct response TV spot, which aired last year. (That was better than Ground Zero, which only managed a few meetings.) M/Z president Richard Zien said at the time the client was “not interested in a formal commitment” to an agency. EarthLink spent $2 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.
BBDO referred calls to EarthLink. John Lake, client director of marketing, said Ground Zero had finished a project faster than expected, and the two sides parted on amicable terms.