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Chase Sends Out 30 RFPs; Merrill Lynch Starts Search

NEW YORK-Chase Manhattan sent out 30 requests for proposals for its $50 million ad account last week as another prominent financial services company, Merrill Lynch, parted with Bozell Worldwide and started an agency search for its estimated $70 million business.
Charles Mangano, first vice president, senior director of marketing at Merrill Lynch here, said Bill Weilbacher at Bismark Corp. in Dennis, Mass., will conduct the review. Rfp’s are expected to go out soon. Mangano said a single agency with a strong global network will be selected to handle the entire account. Four or five contenders should be identified within the next few weeks. Two or three finalists will be chosen from those before a winner is selected in June. Speculative creative work will be a part of the process.
Merrill Lynch’s relationship with 12-year incumbent Bozell deteriorated partly after management changes at the client, sources said. Problems came to a head recently when the client rejected the agency’s new global campaign, sources said. Both Merrill Lynch and Bozell declined comment on the matter.
David Nolan, Chase corporate marketing and advertising executive, confirmed a blind questionnaire had been sent out last week by New York consultancy Geduldig & Ferguson on behalf of the New York-based bank.
Shops must respond to the rfp by tomorrow, Nolan said; capabilities presentations will take place for contenders within the next two weeks. Nolan said a decision had not yet been made on the number of agencies to be invited. Speculative creative work is anticipated; there is no date set yet, Nolan said.
The two incumbents, McCann-Erickson and Wells BDDP, both New York, are expected to defend, sources said. McCann handles the retail account while Wells has the corporate and wholesale banking portions.
The concurrence of the two reviews may present an interesting choice for unconflicted multinational agencies who are likely to receive rfp’s from both clients. Former Citibank roster shops Lowe & Partners/SMS and J. Walter Thompson, both New York, are two agencies that could pursue either account.
As far as shops with credit card business pitching Merrill Lynch, Mangano said agencies would be evaluated individually to see if conflicts exist. He noted that credit card companies are increasingly offering customers other services. (In terms of Chase, McCann also handles MasterCard.)