Fidelity Transitions to Arnold

Arnold has begun ad-dressing creative and staffing issues on its expanded Fidelity Investments business following the agency’s appointment last week to succeed Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos on the client’s mutual funds and retirement services advertising.

Pam Hamlin, a group account director and one of the Boston agency’s nine managing partners, will oversee Fidelity, an agency representative said.

Hamlin and several other Arnold executives either did not return calls or declined comment, citing Fidelity’s well-known penchant for secrecy concerning its relationships with outside vendors.

Arnold chairman and CEO Ed Eskandarian called Fidelity one of the shop’s five largest accounts. That would place the budget conservatively at $50-75 million. Fidelity, the No.1 mutual funds provider, has already spent more than $100 million this year on ads.

A representative of the Boston-based client said no decision has been made on when Arnold’s first work will debut and declined to discuss details of the agency’s selection or upcoming creative. The representative added, however, that Hill, Holliday’s year-old “See yourself succeeding” theme will likely be retained for the short term.

Fidelity, which is still hammering out the fine points of its contract with Arnold, insists that it does not view the shop as its lead agency. However, Boston’s Hill, Holliday during its half decade on the account developed the themelines and visual elements used in work done by the client’s in-house agency and Gotham, New York, which handles Fidelity’s online brokerage. Arnold is now expected to be the steward of Fidelity’s overall image, though Gotham may contribute brand-building ideas.

During a months-long quest to leverage interactive project assignments into a media advertising relationship, Arnold presented ideas on how to extend “See yourself succeeding” as well as new creative directions, and initial work will likely find Arnold putting a “hip” spin on the existing campaign, sources said.

There had been speculation that Arnold might jeopardize its standing with client The Hartford if it won more Fidelity, but both Eskandarian and a Hartford representative insisted no agency change or review is planned. Fidelity and Hill, Holliday split in June citing a conflict with the latter’s growing workload from FleetBoston Financial.