Grey Snags $200 Million Fortis Account

Financial-Services Firm Had Been Dividing Work Among Several Shops

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NEW YORK ( -- Following a six-month review, financial-services giant Fortis has awarded its estimated $200 million global creative account to WPP Group's Grey Worldwide, according to executives familiar with the matter.

Fortis, which has dual headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and Utrecht, Netherlands, began its review with 10 agencies that were whittled down to three in the final round: Grey, WPP sibling Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Representatives for the agencies and Fortis could not be immediately reached for comment.

First-time consolidation
Fortis' global creative account was previously handled by a mix of agencies; the move marks the first time Fortis is consolidating the business within a single network.

A brief presented to agencies earlier this year asked for the creation of a new global positioning for the Fortis brand, along with new creative campaigns across three key divisions -- retail banking, insurance and the merchant-and-private-banking business.

In an internal memo, Grey's chairman-CEO, Jim Heekin, said: "This win demonstrates that in a year of change and challenges, we are on the path to growth."

"It was essential that we consolidated our advertising support into one agency which would allow us to improve the consistency and effectiveness of our campaigns," Adrian Martorana, Fortis' general manager of global branding and communications, said in a statement.

First work, which will include TV, print, online, outdoor and direct-marketing components, is expected to break across Europe and select Asian markets in early 2008.

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Contributing: Ryan McConnell and Jeremy Mullman
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