Rebranding: Wachovia debuts effort after First Union merger

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Wachovia Corp. will break a campaign this month to introduce its post-merger identity.

First Union Corp. last September bought Wachovia and assumed its name. The first post-merger campaign, breaking July 20, will promote Wachovia Securities, the Charlotte bank's corporate banking and brokerage arm.

"This is a big coming-out party," said Jim Garrity, head of corporate marketing. While promoting Wachovia Securities, the campaign will also increase the bank's profile as it prepares to roll out the name change.

TV ads break July 20 on the Walt Disney Co.'s ABC broadcast of the British Open golf tournament and will be followed by radio. The TV buy will be concentrated on sports, financial and public affairs programming on weekends, targeting wealthy investors and corporate decision-makers. The print buy includes financial magazines such as Time Inc.'s Fortune and Forbes and major newspapers such as Dow Jones & Co.'s The Wall Street Journal and Gannett Co.'s USA Today.

The campaign is the first effort since Wachovia consolidated its advertising at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen, Winston-Salem, N.C., Wachovia's agency before the First Union acquisition. Mullen won the account in a shootout with Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, First Union's agency.

spending more

The ads carry the tagline "Uncommon Wisdom," a phrase that was part of the campaign brief for the pitch, said Denzil Strickland, executive creative director at Mullen.

Spending for the new campaign was not disclosed, but First Union and Wachovia together spent $78 million on U.S. advertising in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Mr. Garrity would not confirm any numbers but said Wachovia plans to spend "progressively more" as it launches the new brand.

Local market campaigns for the retail bank will follow as branches are converted to the new brand, said Mr. Garrity.

Ads for wealth management services will follow the retail bank ads in late 2002 or early 2003 and will carry the same tagline and positioning.

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