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$600 Mil. BofA Account to Omnicom

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NEW YORK A team of Omnicom Group agencies has won Bank of America's marketing services account, defeating teams from WPP Group and the incumbent, Interpublic Group, a client representative confirmed. The estimated budget is $600 million.

Revenue on the account, which includes traditional advertising, direct and event marketing, and media duties, is estimated at $65 million.

"We are pleased that our breadth of creative resources and client service model was selected by Bank of America, an iconic world-class brand that we are proud to now include in our distinguished client portfolio of global brands," said Omnicom CEO John Wren, in a statement.

IPG had handled the business since November 2002. Sixteen of its agencies had pieces of the account under the stewardship of Bruce Nelson, IPG's chief marketing officer. But Nelson resigned in June after clashing with IPG CEO Michael Roth about how to manage BofA. A month later, the Charlotte, N.C., bank confirmed that it had launched a review.

Several agency and parent company executives were involved, including BBDO worldwide CEO Andrew Robertson and corporate honchos Tom Harrison, Susan Smith Ellis and Michael Birkin [Adweek, Aug. 8].

"Our challenge, and our promise to Bank of America, was to organize our assets in a very disciplined way yet maintain the highest levels of creativity that each of our independent agencies have become so well known for in their respective areas of expertise," Smith Ellis said.

Smith Ellis will run the account for Omnicom, along with an executive team of about eight people whom she declined to identify because they haven't all been determined yet. The team will be culled from the eight agencies and 55 people that comprised Team Omnicom for the pitch: Live Technology, Organic, BBDO, Javelin, OMD, Cultura, Radiate Group and TPN (The Promotion Network).

Sources said WPP offered a passel of some 20 agencies under the stewardship of a top corporate executive. The shops included Ogilvy & Mather unit Soho Square, Grey Direct and MediaCom; Berlin Cameron/Red Cell execs also met with the client, though they were not in the picture at the end, according to sources.

IPG essentially offered more of the same, with Roth meeting with BofA marketing chief Catherine Bessant several times, and leaders of Draft and Jack Morton visiting BofA last week [Adweek Online, Aug. 26].

"The Bank of America brand is one of our strongest assets. The company continues to grow, expanding our brand promise globally to new markets and new customers," said Bessant, in a statement. "We are delighted that Omnicom will be our partner as we grow our company. This decision is an important step in further building our brand strength and aligning marketing efforts with our work to deepen customer relationships."

A bank representative added that IPG "made great contributions to our marketing efforts. We appreciate the partnership we've had with them."

"Bank of America has notified us of its intention to move to Omnicom and our agencies will continue to partner with them during a transitional period of up to six months," said an IPG representative. "The bank is a great client, we are proud of the model we built together with them and we wish them well going forward."