Starcom Snags BofA Account

Agency Wins Media-Buying and -Planning Duties Worth $234 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Publicis Groupe's Starcom has won Bank of America's estimated $234 million media-buying and -planning account in a pitch that included the incumbent, Omnicom Group's Prometheus; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann; and digital shop Avenue A/ Razorfish, the marketer confirmed.

Starcom will handle both traditional and online media strategy for Bank of America, with operations staffed out of the agency's Chicago office.

"The media landscape is rapidly changing, and we were looking for a partner that gave us the breadth of experience and innovation to help us succeed," said Bank of America spokesman Joe Goode. "We were attracted to Starcom because of their thought leadership, their cutting-edge tools, and the talent both online and off."

Dismantling Omnicom relationship
Bank of America has been working almost exclusively with Omnicom for the past two years but said in November it would dismantle the holding-company relationship. When news of the review broke, Bank of America Chief Marketing Officer Anne Finucane told Ad Age the holding-company model "limited our ability to align the best agencies and capabilities to our diverse set of businesses."

Though the shift of business means the end of Bank of America's exclusive contract with Omnicom, it won't sever all its ties to the holding company. BBDO -- which late last year submitted to the client a proposal detailing, among other things, how it plans to collaborate with non-Omnicom agencies -- will remain Bank of America's lead creative agency, Mr. Goode said.

Bank of America also will maintain its relationship with Interpublic's Hill Holliday, Boston, which handles marketing of BofA's Global Wealth & Investment Management division and corporate social responsibility.

Collaboration expected
"We expect Starcom will be working collaboratively with BBDO, Hill Holliday and all of our key agency partners," Mr. Goode said. "What we are looking for is all our agency partners to work together to uncover the strategic insights that lead to creative excellence that will continue to grow our brand."

The review was handled by Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif.

"The Bank of America brand is all about growing opportunity, which is perfectly aligned with the approach we take at Starcom," said John Muszynski, CEO of Starcom USA, in a statement.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh
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