Grey Nabs DoubleClick Account

Online ad giant DoubleClick said it’s giving its own American advertising account to Grey Worldwide, following a three-month review.

DoubleClick declined to comment beyond confirming that Grey had won its American ad account, valued at about $20 million to $25 million. But spokespeople from the New York-based firm said in December that the company’s new agency would be focusing a large part of its efforts on its Latin American operations, and would handle both online and offline duties.

DoubleClick also suggested in December that its new agency would handle all American media planning and buying, in addition to creative.

Following the appointment, it’s expected that Grey will oversee the account while farming out portions of it to various subsidiaries of its parent, Grey Global Group. One of these could be Beyond Interactive, which specializes in online creative.

DoubleClick had said in December that it was launching the review to consolidate its North and South American work with a single agency.

Ogilvy One handles DoubleClick’s international work, and would continue to do so, the company said in December.

Silicon Alley-based Digital Pulp had previously handled DoubleClick’s U.S. creative work, while DoubleClick did its own planning and buying. Most recently, Digital Pulp launched DoubleClick’s “Red Clay” campaign, designed to showcase the company’s various product divisions and customizability.

Digital Pulp said that it had declined to participate in the review, citing a preference to remain focused on the U.S.

The appointment of Grey comes following a year of public relations difficulties for DoubleClick. The company not only fended off critics of online advertising, it saw intense scrutiny from privacy advocates and state and Federal authorities over its planned database integration with Abacus Direct.

While the firm scrapped those plans and the FTC recently concluded an investigation into the firm’s information-handling activities, DoubleClick and its investors are nevertheless likely banking on the appointment to better the firm’s reputation — as well as the reputation of the entire online advertising industry.

DoubleClick’s stock is hovering between $10 and $15 — well off it’s 52-week high of $113 in part due to concerns about the efficacy online advertising, while many other in the field are fairing worse. And a better standing for DoubleClick — the industry’s largest and most important player — could bode well for everyone.

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