The health information provider, launched on the Internet in May, has initiated a review for its first agency on an estimated $5 million to $10 million account.
Six shops are in the running, including Bozell Worldwide, San Mateo, Calif.; Fuse Design, Laguna Beach; Grey Healthcare West, Redwood City; Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; and two other undisclosed contenders. A decision is expected next month.
Bozell could have an advantage since it handles online advertising expected to launch later this month.
Health sites have been some of the most active in the Web site advertising marketplace. Drkoop.com tapped Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, as its first agency last week, while Onhealth.com and WebMD recently launched ad campaigns with spending in excess of $20 million apiece.
Adam.com officials said they will lean on their winning agency for advice on which media to advertise on and whether to continue with the site's tagline: "The first name in online health."
But officials said they've resolved not to join the trend of Web sites that use humor in their advertising as a way to grab attention. The site is looking to position itself as a trusted source of health information, and officials said humor is inappropriate for the subject matter.
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Like other health sites, adam.com hopes to establish top-of-mind awareness among Web surfers before a select few sites secure market dominance. One advantage adam.com officials said they have is a name that doesn't include the word "health" or any medical catchphrases.
"We think it positions us pretty well," said Inger Rarick, director of marketing communications. "The problem with the others is there's a lot of confusion in the marketplace, and there is no recognized brand because of that."
Analyst David Restrepo of Jupiter Communications said that since many sites have health in their name "they're easily confused."
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Adam.com's name has roots in the company's prior moniker, ADAM Software, which stands for Animated Dissection of Anatomy for Medicine. It made its name selling CD-ROMs and other software with medical information to physicians and consumers.
"We had all this content we felt was being underutilized that we thought we could leverage," Ms. Rarick said.
Besides filling the site with medical information, the company provides content