HGTV Contacts Southeast Shops

Home & Garden Television has issued requests for proposals to some two dozen agencies for its $10-12 million account.

Among those contacted in the Southeast: eight-year incumbent Lewis Communications, Birmingham, Ala.; Interpublic Group’s Fitzgerald + Co. and WPP’s J. Walter Thompson, both Atlan-ta; IPG’s The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; and independent shops The Buntin Group, Nashville, Tenn., and Trone Advertising in Greensboro, N.C.

Omnicom’s BBDO office in Atlanta has also been invited to participate, sources said. Search consultancy AAR Group of New York is overseeing the process.

The cable TV network, owned by W.E. Scripps in Knoxville, Tenn., is close to reaching the 80 million household mark.

“We’ve really been hitting our stride,” said Michael Boyd, HGTV’s vice president of marketing.

Boyd said the cable network’s shift in programming, from instructive, how-to shows to more lifestyle-oriented fare, accounts for the current account review.

“As we’ve evolved, we have developed a hurdle in communicating [that shift] to consumers. We are trying to tap into that,” Boyd said.

The network is looking for an agency that has experience in targeting women, ages 25-54, as well as strong mass-market retail experience in helping clients build strong brand identities.

“We’re a perceived niche and we’re trying to reach out to a broader base,” said Boyd.

Next week the client will narrow its list to five semifinalists. A decision is expected before year’s end.