Wachovia Taps WPP Team for $150 Million Creative, Media Account

Ogilvy Is Lead Shop Following Shootout Against Sibling Y&R

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Wachovia said it has awarded its nearly $150 million creative and media advertising account to a WPP Group team led by Ogilvy & Mather after a review.

Wachovia began a hunt for new agency partners in the spring -- a blow to longtime partners Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Aegis Group's Carat, Boston -- with an eye on updating its brand.

It was a "good time for us to step back and see what else is out there, find out what we're missing and see what other firms have to offer," Wachovia CMO Ranjana Clark told Ad Age in an interview in earlier this year.

After narrowing to a field of four agencies this summer, Wachovia eliminated agency teams Lowe and Universal McCann, part of Interpublic, and Merkley & Partners and OMD, part of Omnicom Group, in recent weeks. Ogilvy emerged the winner after a shootout against WPP sibling Young & Rubicam.

Ogilvy will now serve as the Charlotte, N.C.-based marketer's lead agency, with Maxus for media planning and buying, Neo for digital marketing and Soho Square for specialty marketing services. West Coast search consultant Select Resources International oversaw the process.

The agency switch comes amid turmoil in the financial-services sector, and follows rumors of the bank's merger with other banking partners, including Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co.

Wachovia spent a total of $145 million on U.S. measured media in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence, but that figure is set to drop. The company declined to provide its revised ad budget, but in a statement said "it would likely be smaller in 2009 compared to 2008 given market conditions." New work is expected to break next year.
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