BANKAMERICA BALKS ON SHOP REVIEW: DIFFICULTY FOLLOWS ON HEELS OF SIMILAR ACT BY CITICORP

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BankAmerica last week postponed a decision in the review for its estimated $45 million to $55 million account, citing difficulties in reaching a final consensus.

A decision was expected last week, but finalists Bates USA, New York and Los Angeles; Deutsch, New York and Santa Monica, Calif.; Team One, El Segundo, Calif.; and incumbent Ketchum Advertising, San Francisco, have been asked to present "supplementary" ideas.

NO DECISION BEFORE END OF MONTH

A BankAmerica spokesman said a decision on the corporate image account is likely by late February or early March.

The contenders have reason to be jittery, after watching No. 1 consumer bank Citicorp abruptly call off a protracted review for its own global image account in late January, following weeks of lengthy presentations.

The three finalists were Citicorp roster agencies J. Walter Thompson Co., Lowe & Partners/

SMS and Foote, Cone & Belding, all New York.

Among the difficulties Bank-America faces is choosing an ad concept that will satisfy both global and local marketing goals, as the nation's No. 3 bank races to establish a national brand identity in the fast-moving, increasingly competitive financial services industry.

When Citicorp's review went up in smoke, insiders said its marketing dilemma is similar: Banks want customers to see them simultaneously as worldwide financial powerhouses and also as the warm, local hometown bank capable of one-on-one relationships.

"We put a lot of time and effort-and money-into this, and I'm sure the other agencies did, too. This isn't what we wanted to hear," said one Citicorp finalist, who declined to be identified.

"It feels like a big waste of money," agreed another.

ALL THINGS TO ALL CONSUMERS

The budget for Citicorp's global account-which could have included print and TV ads-was never determined.

"Everyone's trying to be all things to all consumers, which is a mistake. At the same time, consumers are confused by the mad proliferation of financial services products, services and advice," said Stuart Novek, VP-retail marketing at mutual fund marketer Janus Funds, a pioneer in marketing its no-load offerings directly to consumers via network TV.

Wachovia Corp. and First Union recently conducted agency reviews, and Banc One is believed to be considering a new ad strategy following its merger with First USA, one of the nation's largest affinity credit-card marketers.

Corporate-banking powers Chase Manhattan Bank and Bankers Trust, and more

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