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[email protected] has moved its $15 million to $20 million media account amid signs the creative at Lowe & Partners/SMS may be on shaky ground.

The Web company moved media buying from the New York shop to Starcom Worldwide's new San Francisco office. It's the first win for the new office, set to open Sept. 23.

Fred Siegel, [email protected]'s senior VP-marketing, said the company was pleased with Lowe's creative "today." When asked about that qualifier, he replied: "The Internet world is very crazy. There's a possibility that we will add resources to our current roster."

Asked if Lowe would be retained under those circumstances, Mr. Siegel said, "I don't know at this point. Right now, they are doing a fantastic job."


Lowe President Rob Quish said he'd recently spoken to Mr. Siegel, who told him that [email protected] executives were happy with his agency's work.

[email protected] has been at the low end of spending for an Internet portal. The category has exploded to about $500 million in ad spending. An [email protected] insider said that may increase substantially.

"The decision to open up an office in San Francisco was made, in part, to show . . . that we're committed to them in their own back yard," said Bob Brennan, Starcom's chief operating officer.

Terry De Voto will be VP-general manager of the office. Previously, he was senior VP-general manager of Western Initiative Media Worldwide's San Francisco

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