Ground Zero, EarthLink Split

If it’s not the shortest agency-client relationship on record, it’s close.
EarthLink Networks last week parted ways with Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif., its agency of just three weeks, sources said. The client is in talks with BBDO West, Los Angeles, a finalist in its last review, to handle a $2-3 million test project, sources said.
Abrupt changes are nothing new for EarthLink. The company earlier split with Mendelsohn/Zien Advertising, Los Angeles, after just four months. EarthLink preferred a “project relationship without a formal commitment,” agency president Richard Zien said at the time, which was inconsistent with his agency’s culture [Adweek, Jan. 11].
Ground Zero and EarthLink executives clashed at a recent meeting over how to proceed with brand positioning for the Pasadena, Calif.-based Internet service provider, said sources.
“We were going in separate directions,” said Ground Zero managing partner Jim Smith.
John Lake, EarthLink’s director of marketing, said Ground Zero finished a project faster than expected, and the two parted amicably. He added that he has talked to BBDO about a project, but no deal has been finalized.