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First Union Corp. is preparing a search for an agency to handle collateral marketing materials, such as brochures and merchandise, and possibly some print advertising.

The work currently is handled in-house and by a variety of shops that work on a project basis, a First Union spokeswoman said.

Publicis Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, is the bank's ad agency; that relationship is unaffected.


"We're looking for a second agency," the spokeswoman said. "We need more support than what we have currently."

First Union now is looking for a consultant to handle the review, and hopes to have an agency in place by the end of the year.

The collateral budget was undisclosed. First Union spent $55.1 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and said it spends about $30 million on direct marketing.

The review is in keeping with an overall effort by First Union-and regional banks in general-to build its brand image. First Union, with $220 billion in assets, is the sixth-largest bank in the country.

Earlier this year, it consolidated its direct marketing account with two agencies, Hill, Holliday Direct, Boston, and Earle Palmer Brown Direct, Philadelphia.

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