Thursday, May 3, 2012

BofA chooses new ad agency

Bank of America Corp. has selected a new advertising agency of record after an extensive review, part of an effort to rebuild its image in the face of "significant changes," the lender said Thursday.

The Charlotte bank chose ad giant WPP as its global agency of record. It also plans to ramp up creative assignments at Hill Holliday, the Boston firm where Bank of America marketing chief Anne Finucane once worked. That firm will retain marketing responsibility for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and U.S. Trust.

Bank of America, the nation's second-largest bank by assets, launched an evaluation of its ad accounts in January as it sought to better communicate "the significant changes that have taken place at the company" as well as in the economy, it said. The move came on the heels of biting criticism from consumers, shareholders and politicians after a series of management missteps and a stock price plunge.

"We have fundamentally transformed into a stronger, more straightforward company that serves three groups of customers with distinct financial services," Finucane, the bank's global strategy and marketing officer, said in a statement. "These agencies ... will help us better communicate both the progress we've made as well as the value of our brand and our company to all of our stakeholder groups around the world and across all of our lines of business."

WPP, which already handles some work for the bank, will take over Bank of America's overall brand positioning, as well as branding and advertising for its consumer banking, global banking and markets and global commercial banking divisions. It replaces an account with BBDO Worldwide, which created the "Bank of Opportunity" campaign.

No word yet on what will replace the slogan. Last month, veteran ad executive Michael McDonald pitched the bank with an ad of his own in the Observer, suggesting it adopt the tagline "Bank of America: Living up to our name."

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