IN THE RED

After a year off, red umbrellas are popping up all over in Merkley Newman Harty & Partners’ new campaign for Citigroup.

The umbrella, a corporate icon that last year was only visible in Citigroup’s logo, appears frequently in five TV spots that broke last week. There’s also a new tagline: “This is Citigroup.” (The old tag: “Lead. By example.”)

One spot, “Stability,” shows a series of images, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and a farmer sickling wheat—each of which includes an individual holding a red umbrella.

“On one continent, there’s instability. On another, there’s growth,” says a voice over, which concludes, “The world is constantly changing, but our role in it remains the same—this is Citigroup.”

The spot “speaks to a little bit of what people are thinking about [post-9/11] in a subtle way,” explained creative director/copy writer Scott Zacaroli.

The umbrella—meant to symbolize the “roof” under which Citigroup units fall—recalls spots that the New York shop produced in 2000 and 1999. The director of the ’99 spots, Iain Mackenzie, also directed the new work. Campaign spending was not available; for last year, CMR reported about $10 million in Citigroup spending.