It’s Official: $180 Mil. E*Trade to Grey

NEW YORK E*Trade Financial has shifted creative duties on its ad account to WPP Group’s Grey from Omnicom Group’s BBDO, the client has confirmed. Adweek.com initially reported the shift yesterday.

E*Trade, an online brokerage that has worked with BBDO since 2004, spent more than $180 million in major measured media last year, and about $135 million in the first half of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Both BBDO and E*Trade attributed the account move to a growing conflict with BBDO’s assignment for Bank of America. (An E*Trade subsidiary, E*Trade Bank, offers online banking.) The client called the parting of ways a mutual decision.

The account will be serviced by Team E*Trade, a specialized, stand-alone unit at Grey assembled by Jim Heekin, chairman, Grey Global Group. Team E*Trade reunites client CMO Nick Utton with some of the individuals who were instrumental in the successful “Priceless” campaign created during his tenure with MasterCard, including industry veterans such as Heekin, Jonathan Cranin, Nat Puccio and Suresh Nair. The team also includes Steve Hardwick, president, and Tor Myhren, ecd, Grey New York.

“Grey presented us with a powerful creative idea that promises to resonate strongly with our customers and support our growth with key segments,” said Utton, in a statement.

Heekin called E*Trade “an iconic industry brand and a company with dynamic growth plans.”

Agency.com remains E*Trade’s interactive shop, while Spark Communications (formerly Starlink) keeps online and TV media buying.

Two years ago, BofA shifted the bulk of its marketing services account to units of Omnicom, chief among them, BBDO. E*Trade was already a client of BBDO’s and the two accounts have co-existed at the agency since then. In late 2006, BBDO got company on the account from independent StrawberryFrog in New York, which presented ideas for a possible Super Bowl spot. BBDO, however, remained lead agency on the business.

This story updates and replaces an item posted yesterday with client confirmation and additional information.