Monster.com Names Finalists

Four finalists have been named in the review for Monster.com’s $75-90 million domestic advertising account.

Arnold Communications here, along with BBDO in New York, Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and incumbent Mullen in Wenham, Mass., have advanced.

Bozell, DDB and Ogilvy & Mather, all in New York, were semifinalists. DDB said it withdrew from the competition.

TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, apparently made a late entry into the process [Adweek, Aug. 14]. Officials with Pile and Co., the Boston-based consulting firm overseeing the search, declined to say if that shop, which withdrew from the review for career site rival HotJobs.com, had ever been in contention for Monster.com.

An agency decision will be made at month’s end or in early September, based on client assessments of strategic assignments given to the shops, said Judy Neer, an official with Pile and Co.

Though officials with the Maynard, Mass., client cite recent growth as the prime motivation behind the review, sources have said dissatisfaction with Mul-len’s latest creative, which is tagged “Work. Life. Possibilities,” as another key factor.

Wieden + Ken-nedy currently em-ploys the creative team of Dylan Lee and Monica Taylor, the duo who crafted Mullen’s lauded 1998 “When I grow up” commercial for Monster.com in which kids discuss their career plans. Lee, a copywriter, said it had not been determined if he and Taylor will work on the final assignment in the current review.

Arnold, which earlier this summer lost a flagship dot-com account when Disney-backed Toy-smart.com ceased operations, views Monster.com as a potential “cornerstone” assignment, and chief creative officer Ron Lawner and chief marketing officer Fran Kelly have taken leadership positions in the pitch.

Mullen officials have attempted to downplay the impact losing Monster.com could have on the $400 million Interpublic Group agency. Mullen chief executive Joe Grimaldi has said, “I take a long-term view … Layoffs are not a consideration.” [Adweek, July17]. Mullen earlier this summer parted with the $15-20 million L.L. Bean account. Executives have new-business efforts in high gear, and the shop has recently surfaced in several high-profile reviews.