DDB, Element 79 Replace IPG's McCann Erickson

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NEW YORK ( -- Capital One annouced it hired Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, and Element 79 as its new ad agencies, replacing Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York.

Media services will remain with Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, and Hawkeye will retain the direct-response assignment.

Capital One spent $192 million in media in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The banking company -- one of the largest credit-card issuers in the U.S. -- hired McCann in 2003 after a review sparked by Publicis' decision to close its previous agency, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, as part of its acquisition of Bcom3 Group.

Lee Garfinkel, now chairman and chief creative officer of DDB, worked on the account during his tenure at D'Arcy, which in 2000 created the "What's in your wallet?" campaign that moved the company from an unknown direct marketer of credit cards to a well-known brand. But Capital One is expected to face increased competition in the credit-card arena from rival Bank One, as it completes its merger with JPMorgan Chase, and from American Express Co., which this week signed an agreement with Citigroup to issue its cards.

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