E*Trade’s Agency Search Gets Poor Reviews

An accelerated review process is turning off potential contenders to E*Trade Financial’s agency search, sources said.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based client met with several shops earlier this month and gave them only two weeks to prepare full presentations on creative. One source described the process as “amateur hour.” In addition, agencies would not have access to key decision makerswhile preparing the presentations, sources said. An other executive said the client was unclear about whether it was reviewing all of its business or just a piece of it.

At least three shops have been contacted, including Black Rocket Euro RSCG in San Francisco,which declined to participate, and Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., which will pitch, sources said. E*Trade spent $40 million on ads last year, according to CMR.

Incumbent Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco last week was considering resigning the business, sources said. Goodby officials declined comment.

The reaction to E*Trade’s outreach stands in stark contrast to the A-list of contenders for a smaller local account: the Oakland Athletics. That $1-2 million review attracted Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and the San Francisco offices of TBWA\Chiat\Day and Goodby. (The latter won the business last week.) Incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco also participated.