T.J. Maxx Rates 7 Semifinalists

Long Haymes Carr in Winston-Salem, N.C., and The Richards Group of Dallas turned up among the seven contenders pitching the $20 million ad account of TJX Cos.’ T.J. Maxx stores.

Also pursuing the retailer’s business are: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston; Bates USA and Cliff Freeman and Partners, both New York; Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis; and Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago.

The contenders were chosen based on broadcast creative acumen and experience with retail accounts, according to officials with Pile and Co. in Boston, the consulting firm overseeing the review. The assignment consists mainly of broadcast chores; the client handles most print work in-house.

A cut to finalists will come by month’s end and a decision is expected in late November.

Hill, Holliday is seen as something of an early favorite because it already handles the ad business of TJX’s 550-store Marshalls chain.

Incumbent Holland Mark Advertising in Boston acquired the account of 625-store T.J. Maxx last year when it bought crosstown shop Ingalls, which served the client for 23 years. The Media Edge in New York performs media duties.

Holland Mark and TJX called it quits last month. Sources said T.J. Maxx officials believed their account was no longer viewed as one of the shop’s most important, while agency executives were anxious to move away from labor-intensive retail work in order to focus on better creative opportunities, such as dot-com clients.