CitiFinancial, MacGregor Tap Fricks/Firestone

National Ad Accounts of Lender, Golf Club Maker Total $13 Mil.
ATLANTA–Fricks/Firestone landed on the green in more ways than one last week, winning agency of record status for a pair of national accounts worth at least $13 million.
CitiFinancial, a personal and home equity loan subsidiary of CitiGroup, awarded all advertising, marketing and media duties to the Atlanta shop after a short informal review. The financial entity, which recently changed its name from Commercial Credit, wants Fricks to helm a rebranding campaign that will familiarize the public with the firm as a member of the Citi-brand.
The shop won the MacGregor account after an extensive review that included face-to-face meetings with the client’s chairman and its chief executive officer.
Agency president John Fricks said the former account will bill $10 million; the latter, $3-5 million.
Ann Kenderdine, CitiFinancial’s senior vice president of marketing, said the Baltimore-based institution previously employed local shop Davis Media Group and a consortium of regional creative boutiques. She said CitiFinancial spoke with “a couple of the agencies that work with CitiGroup companies, but Fricks/Firestone was recommended by an associate [who had] worked with them . . . and it was a great fit.”
“They liked the fact that we talked about a way to build the brand that would cause next-day results,” Fricks said.
“[Executive creative director] Elliott [Firestone] is very convincing,” Kenderdine said. “[He’s] good at articulating back to us what he thought were the unique characteristics of what we have to offer [and] captured the strong relationship we have with our customers.”
The agency will deliver transitional spot radio creative for the client in October, before breaking the rebranding campaign in early 2000.
MacGregor president and chief executive William Marsh echoed Kenderdine’s reasoning. “We [picked Fricks] because of its ability to unlock the value of brands in a number of diverse industries,” he said.
“They communicated with uncommon clarity a philosophy of unleashing the power of a brand in tangible and measurable ways,” said MacGregor chairman Barry Schneider.
Sources said Fricks topped two other finalists: Holland Advertising, New York, and The Burris Agency, High Point, N.C. Incumbent Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C., had resigned the account.