The $20 million account had been handled by J. Walter Thompson USA, San Francisco, which resigned because of a conflict with new client Merrill Lynch & Co.
The Discover Brokerage Direct account, as it is formally known, was moved without a review. Morgan Stanley did not return calls, Black Rocket declined comment and JWT could not be reached for comment by press time.
The win is a big one for Black Rocket, pushing the 2-year-old agency's billings past the $50 million mark. The shop won the $2 million Wired account last month.
PURCHASE BRINGS UNCERTAINTY
But Black Rocket's relationship with client Pete's Brewing Co. could be up in the air following the acquisition of the brewer by Gambrinus Co. (AA, June 1).
Discover was JWT's second online account in little more than a year. In February 1997, the agency won E*Trade's estimated $10 million account and created a humorous but short-lived TV campaign before losing the account to Gotham, New York, two months later.
After that, the agency won the Discover Brokerage Direct business and initiated a print and TV effort to show that even technophobes would be able to do online trading.
Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo.