Citibank Awards $150 Mil. Biz


Fallon’s Financial-Health Idea Beats out TBWA\Chiat\Day
NEW YORK–It was a simple, yet versatile idea that enabled Fallon
to capture Citibank’s U.S. ad duties, an account that’s expected to grow to $150-170 million in annual billings.
The central idea revolves around financial health, specifically how the bank helps consumers achieve financial well-being, sources said. (Fallon declined comment, and the client could not be reached.) The work is expected to become the basis for the Minneapolis agency’s first campaign.
The strategy of fellow finalist TBWA\Chiat\Day was strikingly similar–“financial fitness”–but its execution differed, sources said. TBWA\C\D illustrated its idea through storyboards and stock video, and used the metaphor of a personal trainer to explain it, sources said.
Both shops were expecting additional meetings when the bank notified the winner. Fallon staffers celebrated on Wednesday night.
Fallon’s effort, led by chairman Pat Fallon, included president and creative director David Lubars and chief marketing officer Mark Goldstein, sources said. Laurel Cutler, a board member and former FCB executive, played an advisory role.
TBWA\C\D’s core team included New York president Carl Johnson, planning director David Hackworthy, and Lee Clow, chairman and worldwide creative director for TBWA Worldwide. If the agency had prevailed, the California-based Clow would have served as creative director on the business, sources said.
In its brief, Citibank presented a formidable challenge: Hatch a strategy that will unite the varied and various elements of its consumer division–including banking and credit cards, sources said.
Fallon, one of the first to pitch, seemed to hit a home run, and the other six contenders somehow had to do one better, sources said. “We knew that they had already seen something [they loved],” said one executive.
TBWA\C\D came close and, based on some strong chemistry, it advanced, sources said. In the end, however, “the Fallon idea seemed to really resonate with them,” a source said. Another added: “They bought the work.”
TBWA\C\D’s Johnson on Friday said only, “If you have to lose, it’s better to lose to someone as good as Fallon.”
Executives at other shops ap-plauded the selection, but said Fallon has its work cut out for it. “It’s going to be very tough, and I think they’re going to be held accountable,” one source said. “But they’re a smart agency–a very smart agency.