RETAILER CIRCUIT CITY NARROWS REVIEW FOR AD ACCOUNT

Five Semifinalists Chase $80-$100 Million Creative Assignment

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Circuit City Stores has chosen five semifinalists for its estimated $80 million to $100 million creative account.

The electronics retailer trimmed its

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list to: Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson, New York and Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York; and independents Richards Group, Dallas, and Doner, Southfield, Mich.

Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, previously handled the account.

The list will be cut to three finalists in two weeks, and a decision will follow three to four weeks after the cut, said search consultant Hasan Ramusevic, of Hasan & Co., Raleigh, N.C.

Faced with sliding sales and increased competition from rival Best Buy, Circuit City has been revamping its marketing efforts. It hired independent Sharpe Advertising, New York, in January to handle its online advertising, replacing FCBi, FCB's interactive unit. In February, it also hired Publicis Groupe's Bromley Communications as its first Hispanic agency to handle a $15 million account and opened reviews for a promotions agency and a public relations agency.

The retailer spent $345 million in media during the fiscal year, which ended Feb. 29, but the account in review is estimated at $80 million to $100 million in billings. The media portion of the account will remain in-house.

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