STARCOM WINS BANK OF AMERICA REVIEW

Gets $160 Million Media Buying and Planning Duties

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bcom3 Group's Starcom has been awarded Bank of America's $160 million media buying and planning account, according to executives involved in the review.

Starcom beat Publicis Groupe's Zenith Media in a final shootout for the account.

The review began in May

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when the bank sent out requests for proposals to a large number of agencies. In June, the list was narrowed to Aegis Group's Carat; Starcom; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media North America, the incumbent media buyer; Omnicom Group's PHD; and Zenith Media, owned jointly by Publicis and Cordiant Communications Group.

Carat dropped out due to a conflict with a newly won client, Bank One.

Final pitches were heard last week, with agencies dropping one by one until only Starcom and Zenith remained standing, according to executives in the review.

The review included a controversial online reverse auction in which competing shops posted their cost estimates on a Web site in real time and were able to view rival bids for the business -- and also undercut them.

Calls to the Bank of America and Starcom were not returned at press time.

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