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SunTrust Selects Mullen

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BOSTON SunTrust today said it has selected Interpublic Group's Mullen for advertising and integrated brand communications following a review.

Mullen's offices in Wenham, Mass., and Winston-Salem, N.C., will handle the bank's creative, media and digital chores for the bank based in Atlanta.

WPP Group's Young & Rubicam had been the previous lead creative agency on SunTrust. That agency's pursuit of Wachovia -- ironically, a longtime Mullen client -- triggered the SunTrust review.

The SunTrust creative now shifting includes online marketing chores at VML, a unit of Y&R Brands. The media incumbent was WPP's Maxus in New York.

SunTrust spent approximately $50 million in domestic measured media last year, and $20 million-plus through the first half of 2008, per TNS Media Intelligence.

"The level of work from all finalists was top notch, making our decision that much harder," said Rilla Delorier, client evp, CMO. "Ultimately, Mullen's presentation and ideas meshed best with our strategy and goals for conveying the brand image."

Joe Grimaldi, CEO of Mullen, said the time of transformation in the banking world presented SunTrust -- and by extension, his agency -- with a "significant opportunity."

Jane Bedford of The Bedford Group, an Atlanta-based consultancy, led the review process on behalf of SunTrust.

One week ago, Wachovia selected a team led by WPP's Ogilvy & Mather in New York for its $145 million account following a review in which a Y&R-led team was the runner-up. The current confusion over Wachovia's eventual buyer -- Citigroup or Wells Fargo -- has left that assignment at least temporarily in limbo.

Mullen was cut from the Wachovia pitch prior to the finals.