Toy Retailer Starts Review

Area Big Boys Battle for All-Media Branding Push
BOSTON–The region’s largest agencies lined up last week to make capabilities presentations to a Web-based retailer of educational toys. in Waltham, Mass., is seeking its first agency for an all-media branding push, sources said. Billings were estimated by sources at $10-15 million, although they cautioned that the Internet startup has made no firm commitment to a budget.
Contending for the account are Arnold Communications, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Partners & Simons, all Boston; Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; and Mezzina/Brown, New York. A second round of creative presentations may be scheduled for later this month.
Client executives are believed to have contacts or histories with each of the five shops. Chief marketing officer Kelly McGovern, for example, has worked with executives at Partners & Simons, Arnold and Hill, Holliday in previous jobs at Bay Networks and Microcom Software. Client representatives could not be reached at press time last week.
Officials at the contending shops said the assignment looks promising because it would offer an opportunity to create advertising for an Internet company at a time when the contenders are trying to prove their prowess in building brands across mediums. was started in January when its chief executive officer, David Lord, bought the educational toy retailing division of The Holt Co.
“Educational toys are the fastest growing segment of the toy industry and electronic commerce is the fastest-growing way of distributing those toys to the consumer,” said Lord in a statement posted on his company’s Web site.