After several rounds of presentations, a trio of finalists -- Organic , Swirl and Digitas -- competed in the finals, executives familiar with the matter said. AKQA, which had earlier been working on a digital project for eBay, did not participate in the pitch.
EBay did not immediately respond to a call for comment. Agencies either declined to comment or could not be reached.
Originally, the brief included social media, but it's understood that Digitas will be handling only digital creative and media. Whether the social-media piece will be assigned to a different shop is unclear.
There's a connection between eBay's North American CMO Richelle Parham and Digitas. Ms. Parham worked at the agency for 12 years. According to her LinkedIn profile, she left her position as senior VP and general manager at the firm in 2007. She joined eBay in November 2010.
Although the company's headquarters are on the West Coast, the account will be run from Digitas, Chicago.
The digital-media budget is between $20 million and $30 million, according to people familiar with the matter. According to Kantar, eBay spent $70.2 million on domestic measured media in 2010, down nearly $20 million from what it spent in 2009. EBay owns PayPal, Skype, Shopping.com, StubHub and Rent.com.
Venables Bell & Partners, which had been working closely with AKQA, handles creative work for EBay. Edelman handles the company's PR and is understood to have brought in mobile project work after a review earlier last year. Ebay also conducted a creative review last spring.