Gross Joins Lycos

Look for Terra Lycos to increase the ad budget for its Lycos brand by “tens of millions of dollars” this year and evolve or discard its “Dig into it deeper” positioning, according to Steven Gross, the Internet portal’s new U.S. vp of marketing.

Gross joined the Walt ham, Mass., client last week.

He said he was generally pleased with work from Lycos agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Bos ton. “I don’t intend to do an agency review at this time,” he said.

But Gross added that no long-term decisions have been made about the client-agency relationship or the nature of upcoming ads.

There has been some tension since Barcelona, Spain-based Terra Networks’ $12.5 billion purchase of Lycos two years ago. Terra was already working with Ogilvy & Mather, New York, when Hill, Holliday was brought aboard.

Lycos re ceived slightly less than $20 million in domestic ad support from January through November 2001, while $3.5 million was spent on Terra, according to CMR. When Terra’s overseas promotional efforts are factored in, sources said, the brands receive roughly equal support.

A consolidation with Ogilvy, given its entrenchment with senior management, has been considered, sources said. Gross would not discount consolidating the account with a single shop.

“We expect the [brand] positioning to evolve,” said Hill, Holliday president Mike Sheehan. “It was right 18 months ago. But that’s a quick-changing marketplace.”