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Arnold Makes a Move on Fidelity Investments

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BOSTON-A meeting last week between executives of Fidelity Investments and Arnold Worldwide could lead to a shift of advertising from Fidelity roster shops to Arnold, sources said.

Arnold recently added Fidelity Web work [Adweek, Feb. 26], and shop chairman Ed Eskandarian and president Fran Kelly want to leverage that relationship—and their ties to client svp/marketing Beth Pasciucco—into more business, sources said.

Agency executives have on several occasions, including last week's meeting, discussed ways to apply the shop's "brand-essence" philosophy to Fidelity in a "broader context than just interactive," said one executive.

To win the business, Arnold must unseat roster shops Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, and Gotham, New York, which handle Fidelity's retail advertising and promotions for its Powerstreet online trading service, respectively. Both shops are units of the Interpublic Group of Cos.

"We're not in an agency search and have no plans to move any of our advertising," said Fidelity representative Jessica Catino. Eskandar ian did not return calls by press time; Kelly declined comment.

Fidelity, the No. 1 mutual funds provider, spends upward of $150 million annually on ads, per Competitive Media Reporting. About 80 percent of the budget is believed to be spent through Hill, Holliday.

Pasciucco, who worked on Fleet Financial Group at Arnold before Fleet joined with BankBoston last year and consolidated its account with Hill, Holliday, did not return calls.

The Fidelity account has been shaky several times during its five years at Hill, Holliday. Last spring, the client nearly dismissed the agency and launched a review after becoming disenchanted with the shop's posi tioning, sources said [Adweek, June 10]. Hill, Holliday rescued what is thought to be its largest piece of business after CEO Jack Connors brought back former creative star Bill Heater to help craft the current campaign, sources said.

A Hill, Holliday rep declined comment last week. Bachrach