Elite Shops Compete

BOSTON – The region’s four largest mainstream agencies have emerged as finalists for a $7-10 million advertising assignment from Cambridge SoundWorks, which is seeking a shop to help it promote an e-commerce site for its high-end speakers and related equipment.
Originally named as contenders were Mullen in Wenham, Mass.; Ingalls and Arnold Communications, both in Boston; and Deutsch in New York, sources said last week.
However, Deutsch withdrew late in the week and was expected to be replaced by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston. A winner may be announced as early as next week.
With more than $1 billion in billings, Arnold is New England’s largest shop, followed by Hill, Holliday and Mullen, both units of the Interpublic Group of Cos. in New York.
Ingalls, an independent agency, ranks No. 4 and may have an inside track. Cambridge SoundWorks recently hired Ingalls for a estimated $10 million national branding assignment [Adweek, May 3]. Ingalls’ standing on that job is not jeopardized by the current review, sources said.
The winning agency will be asked to create and place a national ad campaign for the Newton, Mass.-based company’s revamped Web site, an update of its current offering (www.hifi.com). The goal: establish the client as the premier online retailer of high-end audio, home theater and multimedia speakers and accessories.
Cambridge SoundWorks is a unit of Creative Technology of Singapore and reported $51 million in sales for 1997, the last year for which figures were available. That figure represented a 17 percent gain over the previous year. – with staff reports