Minneapolis Shop Among Schwab Semifinalists

Semifinalists have emerged for a pair of national ad assignments from Charles Schwab & Co., which is looking for agencies to handle creative chores on a mutual-fund account worth an estimated $75 million.
The client in San Francisco is seeking an agency to help it advertise funds in print media and a shop to craft campaigns designed to enhance the brand with women.
Being considered concurrently for both tasks are Carmichael/ Lynch, Minneapolis, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., and TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., sources said.
BBDO, New York, lead agency for Schwab, which was not expected to participate [Adweek, Feb. 14], may also be evaluated for one or both assignments, but its inclusion had not been finalized by press time, sources said. BBDO insists it is not losing any business in light of the reviews, but sources said at least some money for these new initiatives is being diverted from BBDO.
Pile and Co., the consulting firm in Boston, is overseeing the review process. Skip Pile, the firm’s chairman, declined to confirm the list and referred questions to Schwab officials, who did not return calls.
Agencies will meet with Schwab officials over the next two weeks and finalists are expected to emerge in March. Decisions will be made in March or April.
While Schwab would like to use a separate agency for each assignment, it may choose to award both tasks to one shop, sources said.
Total spending for the print portion will be about $50 million; the client will place $25 million behind its women’s campaign, sources said. All told, Schwab spent $150 million through October of last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.
The initiatives are being taken, sources said, to help Schwab compete against rivals like E*Trade and Fidelity Investments.