Arnold to Defend $75 Mil. Fidelity

BOSTON Fidelity Investments has issued incumbent Arnold, a unit of Havas, an automatic berth in the final round of its agency review, a representative of the mutual funds company said on Monday.

Fran Kelly, president of the Boston-based agency, said the shop intends to defend the business.

Fidelity will spend about $75 million on ads through the winning shop, sources said. For 2003 to date, the client has spent slightly more than $50 million, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Despite being “very satisfied with the work overall” from Arnold, Fidelity is reviewing because it wants to see what other options are available, the company rep said, adding that the process should be finished by the first quarter of 2004.

Claire Huang, the client’s executive vice president of marketing and segment management, who joined Fidelity three months ago from American Express, is leading the review process. Her arrival is a key factor driving the review, according to sources.

Joanne Davis Consulting in New York is assisting in the agency search. Requests for proposals have begun going out, mainly to Northeastern agencies, though Fidelity is still developing a list of initial invitees, sources said.

Arnold’s most recent work for Fidelity, which launched last month, dropped the positioning line “Personally invested.” (The agency had unveiled that positioning more than a year ago.) The latest work features a spot showing a dad who invests at home, through Fidelity’s online services, so he can spend more time with his daughter. That effort plays up the “Power, price and service” Fidelity claims to offer.

Arnold gained the business from crosstown agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, an Interpublic Group shop, in mid-2001 without a review. Arnold works mainly on broadcast ads for Fidelity. The company’s large in-house ad department handles most print.

— with Lisa van der Pool

This story updates an item posted on Oct. 31.