BANK OF AMERICA LAUNCHES MEDIA REVIEW

Buying and Planning Account Currently With Initiative

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bank of America said today that it is putting into review its media buying and planning business, currently with incumbent Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media.

A long list of media shops was contacted Tuesday, according to executives with knowledge of the review. A spokeswoman for Bank of America would not reveal contenders, but she said a decision will be reached in June.

The bank's creative

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shop is Interpublic's Bozell, New York, which created the recent "embracing ingenuity" campaign.

According to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, the company spent $167 million in measured media last year, and $43 million to date this year.

Bank of America was one of the few advertisers that raised its ad spending last year, up nearly 40% in 2001 over 2000.

The bank, the result of the 1998 merger of San Francisco-based Bank of America and NationsBank of Charlotte, N.C., is now turning much of its attention and resources to marketing in an attempt to challenge national institutions such as Citigroup and Chase J.P. Morgan.

Bank of America recently announced that it is quadrupling its multicultural marketing budget to more than $40 million this year. The bank's ethnic ads will run in Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese languages; the campaigns are being created by Hispanic agency Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston; WPP Group-backed Kang & Lee Advertising, New York, for Asian ads; and UniWorld, New York, for African-American advertising.