Australia's Westpac Banking assigns $18m account

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SYDNEY -- Westpac Banking Corporation has appointed The Campaign Palace Sydney to its $18m- plus account, following a tortuous, 10-week review during which the bank sparked considerable controversy in adland by discarding two agencies from its shortlist and adding two others late in the game.

Trouble began early in January for Westpac when incumbent DMB&B Weekes Morris Osborn declined to take part in the review, claiming it was losing money on the business. It then found the field of available agencies was reduced because rival ANZ Banking Group was also reviewing its $20m account, won last week by M&C Saatchi.

Westpac originally invited Young & Rubicam, McCann-Erickson and The Palace to pitch, then said it was not impressed with the presentations, dropped Y&R and McCann and replaced them with two 11th-hour contenders, DDB and Saatchi & Saatchi, both of whom had been rejected by the ANZ bank.

In a final irony, the win is particularly satisfying for The Palace, which now has its billings pushed beyond $80m for the first time, because its sister agency in Melbourne lost the ANZ business late last year.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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