Ogilvy Lands Citizens Bank's $20 Million Advertising Account

After Management Shuffles and Layoffs, Shop Ends Year With New-Business Wins

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ogilvy & Mather, New York, will wrap 2009 with a bit of good news: It picked up Citizens Bank's estimated $20 million advertising account after a review, according to executives familiar with the matter.

The win means the bank will shift its account from its agency of almost a decade, Havas-owned Arnold, Boston. Competing against WPP-owned Ogilvy for creative duties were two Interpublic Group of Cos.' shops, DraftFCB and Mullen, and two WPP siblings, Grey and Y&R. The review began a few months ago and was overseen by consultancy Pile & Co.

Agency representatives either declined to comment or could not be immediately reached, and Pile & Co. did not return calls by press time. A Citizens Bank representative also could not be immediately reached.

Ogilvy's North American operations have been embattled for a few years, but it made a series of management moves this year under its new CEO, Miles Young, to try and revive the shop by hiring new talent and shedding others. There were some signs that the moves have helped; after a dry new-business spell, it won UPS's global ad account and now Citizens Bank.

Still, the shop earlier this month initiated another round of layoffs, its third sizable one since 2008.

Citizens Bank, based in Providence, R.I., is a more than $150 billion commercial bank holding company, and, with some 1,500 branches, largely concentrated on the East Coast. There have been rumors that Citizens' owner, Royal Bank of Scotland, was looking to sell the bank asset, so part of Ogilvy's charge could be making the bank attractive not only to consumers, but potential buyers as well.

Ogilvy has been looking for a bank account for some time; it came close last year when it nearly snared ad duties for Wachovia, but the win got botched after a sale of the bank to Wells Fargo.

The marketer in addition to traditional advertising spends heavily on its sponsorship of the Philadelphia Phillies, which it claims has "generated significant brand awareness and name recognition for Citizens Bank." It's experimenting with other partnerships too; in October, it opened a full-service branch inside of a Dunkin' Donuts.

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