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McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Seattle, is poised to pick up the $12 million Great Western Bank account, following the bank's acquisition by Washington Mutual earlier this month.

Bozell, Costa Mesa, Calif., currently holds the business that Washington Mutual is expected to move to McCann, its partner of six years, said industry executives familiar with the country's largest savings and loan. Washington Mutual will drop Bozell out of a desire to cut costs and deal with a familiar agency, observers said.


"Washington Mutual is very interested in preserving its culture as a company," said one observer.

The thrift, however, will keep the Great Western name in its California and Florida markets.

Gini Lawson, VP-advertising for Washington Mutual, declined comment, as did McCann executives.

Debbie Zimmerman, partner-management supervisor for Bozell, said the shop hadn't received word on its fate from Washington Mutual. "We would hope to continue working with Great Western."

The loss would be a blow to Bozell, which won the account in February and in May broke a quirky TV campaign that departed from the thrift's traditional Old West theme.

Great Western spent $724,700 on advertising during the first three months of 1997, a 59% plunge from the year-earlier period, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The company spent $11.4 million during all of 1996. Washington Mutual spent $1 million during the first quarter of 1997, down 22%. For all of '96, the thrift spent $6 million.

There is precedent for moving the account to McCann. Washington Mutual entered the California market last year by acquiring American Savings Bank and, after the deal was closed, moved the account to McCann from Campbell-Ewald, Los Angeles.

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