Discover Launches Review of $85M Media Account

Starcom Bows Out Due to Bank of America Conflict

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NEW YORK ( -- Discover Financial has put its $85 million media buying and planning account up for review, executives close to the matter said.

Publicis Groupe's Starcom, the incumbent, is not defending the account, which would be in conflict with its work for Bank of America, a new client the agency won in March.

Martin, Carat weigh in
These executives said that Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, which currently handles creative on the account, and Aegis' Carat are pitching for the business. Consultant Jones Lundin Beals is handling the review, the executives said.

Spokespeople for Carat, the Martin Agency and Starcom either declined comment or referred calls to Discover. Dave Beals, president of Jones Lundin Beals, also had no comment. A spokesman for Discover could not immediately be reached.

Martin has foot in door
The Martin Agency won creative duties on the account in April 2006, after the credit card issuer parted ways with its incumbent agency, Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. (Goodby had to resign from the account because it entered a pitch for Visa at the time.)

Discover, which is owned by Morgan Stanley, is the sixth-largest U.S. credit card issuer, with less than 5% of purchase volume in 2007, according to the Nilson Report, a newsletter tracking the credit card industry.
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