Y&R fends off challengers for Met Life account

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Y&R Advertising held onto its Metropolitan Life account despite challenges from the New York offices of TBWA/Chiat/Day and FCB Worldwide, which handles the insurance company's business-to-business advertising. A spokeswoman at Y&R estimated billings at $35 million. "It is one of our oldest and cherished accounts," said Linda Srere, president of Y&R Advertising, New York, who led the pitch for the business. "We are looking forward to working with them and taking them through the next stage of our partnership." Brand Buzz, the agency's integration division, also was involved in the pitch.

"It was really based on how we could dimensionalize their strategy," said Ms. Srere, explaining how the agency won the business back.

Although the account was in play, the client never admitted there was a review and neither did the incumbent shop. The challengers, on the other hand, openly declared they were involved in a formal competition for the business. Y&R has had the account for over 60 years. This past summer Metropolitan Life hired Bright House, Atlanta, a marketing consultant that has been helping the company determine its brand image, and also assisted on its agency search. Next year, Metropolitan Life plans to go public.

Ms. Srere expects that a new Metropolitan Life campaign will roll out in the first quarter. "I'm just happy, we are both embarking on a journey together," she said.

--Richard Linnett

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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