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Bank One Bypasses Hispanic Shops in Texas

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DALLAS Bank One has hired Publicis Groupe's Lapiz as its Hispanic agency on a project basis following a review, the client said.

Publicis' Bromley Communications of San Antonio and sibling Publicis Sanchez & Levitan of Dallas were among an undisclosed number of agencies contending for the business, sources said.

The Chicago-based bank, which sources said spends less than $1 million on Hispanic media, has worked with Ornelas & Associates, Dallas, since 1992. Ornelas, which itself recently began working for the bank on a project-only basis, was not invited to participate in the review, the shop said. Shop CEO Victor Ornelas said he expects to continue working on assignments.

Regarding the Ornelas relationship, client spokesperson Thomas Kelly would only say, "We are still working on our long-term plans."

Indeed, Bank One said it hired Lapiz to help step up its Hispanic marketing efforts. "We have underinvested over the past several years on our branches, our marketing and our ATMs," Kelly said. He said the company's aggressive expansion of its branches is "a reflection we're investing in our business and Hispanic marketing is another piece of that."

Kelly said the bank expects to increase its spend "over the long-term," but declined to offer specifics.

Chicago-based Lapiz and the other agencies could not be reached for comment.

Bank One spent $82 million on media last year, according to CMR. The Gardner-Nelson Project, New York, handles general-market work on a project basis.

In related news, Washington Mutual of Seattle is preparing to launch a Hispanic review, sources said. La Agencia de Orci & Asociados in Los Angeles currently handles that work. The client spent $6 million on media last year, according to Hispanic Business magazine.