Key Corp. to review shops; eyes fresh focus

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Key Corp. has flung its account into review just weeks before it debuts new ads from Lord Group, New York.

The financial services company hired consultant Rojek Marketing Group, Cleveland, to oversee the search for a new agency. Requests for proposals are expected to be mailed out in the coming weeks, said Karen Haefling, Key's chief marketing officer.

Ms. Haefling gave no specific reason for the parting with Lord, other than saying Key's marketing needs a fresh focus. Lord was given the account in 1997 from sister shop Y&R Advertising, New York, when Y&R won the global CitiCorp account.

Lord CEO Jim Hood said the decision to part was mutual.

Spending was undisclosed. Previous estimates have fluctuated from $16 million to $25 million in media spending. But according to Competitive Media Reporting, Key spent less than $2 million on measured media in 1998.

On Oct. 19, Lord begins a new campaign for Key's refurbished Web site. The effort will debut in The Wall Street Journal; radio ads will be used.

Last year, the company launched its first national TV advertising, which featured spokesman Anthony Edwards, from NBC's "ER." The actor won't return to Key ads in 2000.

Although Key may not have an agency for next year, it does have a blueprint of its marketing plans.

Key plans to focus on two areas: retirement solutions for individuals; and services to corporations, such as cash management and retirement plans, said Ms. Haefling.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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