Twists in NBC Pitch 4 Shops Initially Considered Fall Off List; Lowe, Suissa, DMB&B Are Contenders;

NEW YORK-The quest by NBC Sports to find an agency for a high-profile Olympic ad assignment has taken several turns, with new shops emerging in the pitch and a number of early contenders dropping out.
Agencies which were not previously identified include D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Lowe & Partners/SMS in New York as well as Suissa Miller Advertising in Los Angeles, said sources. Those agencies are competing against Fallon McElligott Berlin in New York, which is co-pitching with sister shop Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis. The four finalists will meet with NBC on Aug. 18.
Of the agencies initially identified as participating in the review, five have dropped out or have been eliminated after the early stages of the review, said sources.
At press time, Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York was planning to withdraw from the review, said sources. Other agencies no longer involved include: Deutsch and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, both in New York, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ, both in San Francisco.
Executives at NBC and the agencies either declined to comment or could not be reached. One source said his shop dropped out due to the “arrogant” attitude of some NBC executives. Another said his agency withdrew because the client was “noncommittal” on spending.
NBC has spent an estimated $3.5 billion to secure the broadcast rights to every Olympiad through 2008, with the exception of 1998, which will be aired on CBS. -with Hank Kim and Angela Dawson