Avrett, Mintz to Share Webster Bank

BOSTON Following a review, Webster Bank is moving its creative assignment to Interpublic Group shop Avrett Free & Ginsberg.

A client representative said the New York shop was chosen based on its past financial services experience.

Incumbent Mintz & Hoke, Avon, Conn., was considered in the early stages of the process, but did not advance to the final round, which included a pair of undisclosed New York shops, according to Jeff Bander, Webster’s svp, marketing, who spoke with Adweek about the process last month.

Mintz does, however, retain media buying on the business in its Media Only unit.

Webster has spent slightly more than $2 million on ads in each of the past two years, according to CMR, though Bander said expenditures would be more like $4 million as the Waterbury, Conn., bank looks to establish itself as more of an all-round player in financial services. “We’re not Connecticut based [in terms of providing services] anymore,” Bander said. “We’re regional, and in some cases, national.”

The bank has been in an expansion mode. In January, it acquired Budget Installment Corp., an insurance premium financing company in Rockville Center, N.Y. Last October, Webster absorbed Perry & Cox, a Norwalk, Conn., financial advisory group. Such moves toward diversification are the prime motivators for the agency search, Bander said. Steve Tart, a Greenwich, Conn., consultant, has helped manage the review process.

Avrett’s selection by Webster follows Stuart Grau’s promotion yesterday to the new post of president. Grau reports to chairman and CEO Frank Ginsberg at the 114-person New York agency.

Mintz broke new work for the client in September, evolving its “We find a way” positioning in spots starring University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun. The effort shows how the bank helps families maintain financial well-being in order to allow time for the more important things in life. One new commercial shows Calhoun removing the training wheels from his son’s bike as a voiceover describes the bank as a place “where people help you reach your goals. So you can help those you care about reach theirs.”