Euro To Carry Schwab Brand Back To ‘Main St.’

Euro RSCG is taking Charles Schwab back to its populist roots, sources said. The Havas shop’s winning pitch in the struggling discount-brokerage pioneer’s $110 million creative review will attempt to portray Schwab in a manner that one executive called “much more Main Street than Wall Street.”

Sources said the client asked agencies to present a point of view on how or even whether the CEO—who returned to the struggling company in July—should be used in the marketing message.

“Chuck Schwab, with his passion and vision for individual investors, is back as CEO and is more engaged than ever,” the brief said.

Euro presented an integrated idea that has the CEO as its centerpiece. While Schwab himself is likely to appear in Euro’s campaign (set to break early next year), the strategy, sources said, is to leverage his public persona as the embodiment of the company’s positioning as a “relentless ally” of individual investors.

“As soon as you say the company’s name, it’s associated with a person,” said one source. “Very few brands are like that, and it’s a real opportunity for them.”

In addition, the pitch featured a media approach that includes traditional media but gives the dominant role to the Internet.

Euro’s New York office beat independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore.; Grey Worldwide (soon to be part of WPP Group); and Publicis Groupe’s Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, in a review that began in September—a month after the San Francisco client split with Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas.

The key client decision makers were marketing director Becky Saeger, who joined in March from Visa, and Peter DeLuca, who worked on MCI at Euro in the ’90s.

It’s a welcome win for Euro, which has lost several key execs in the past year and is in the midst of a tough, holding-company-review battle to retain its $300 million-plus global Intel account, one of the agency’s five largest pieces of business. Last week, Marcus Kemp, Euro’s worldwide creative leader on Intel, said he will leave at the end of the year to become vice chairman of BBDO in Atlanta (see story on page 13).

Publicis & Hal Riney also made the company founder the centerpiece of a marketing idea, while Wieden and Grey presented ideas that did not have the brokerage’s CEO front and center, sources said.

Grey came up with a concept in which Schwab could be easily inserted if the client wanted, sources said. Riney’s presentation focused on Schwab as an innovator, a persona that could be used in the early stages of any campaign and then phased out.

Calls to the agencies were referred to the client. A client rep declined comment.

The new campaign will break early next year.