Droga5 Poised to Win Prudential Creative

Financial Marketer Paid Shops $350,000 to Own Ideas

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Prudential Financial is expected to tap Droga5 for a brand campaign following a search for an agency support that began in May.

The Newark, N.J.-based marketer handles the majority of creative and media on its $85 million account in-house, but it began looking to outside agencies this year for help on a corporate branding project. According to people familiar with the matter, the final round of the review came down to two shops, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, and Droga5.

Earlier in the process, Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City was cut. BBH, New York -- which this week lost Chief Creative Officer Kevin Roddy -- is said to have been cut recently, leaving Droga5 the last agency standing in the pitch.

"We decline to comment," a Prudential spokesman said. Ark Advisors, the consultant managing the pitch, also wouldn't comment, while agency representatives either declined comment or could not be immediately reached.

One caveat in the review is that participants were compensated $350,000 for their time and to allow Prudential the rights to own the agencies' ideas, according to people familiar with the process. That means Prudential has the option of using creative ideas from any of the agencies, if it chooses.

For Droga5, working with Prudential -- which offers individuals and businesses life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, investment management and more -- will be a new type of client. In the past, the agency has done creative work for brands such as Ecko and Puma and large-scale cause-marketing efforts such as "The Tap Project" for Unicef.

According to Kantar Media, Prudential spent about $85 million on U.S. measured media in 2009.

The company is seeing improved performance; for the first half of 2010, it posted net income of $1.33 billion, more than double the $533 million it posted in the first half of 2009.

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