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BBDO Breaks Into Banking

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DALLAS-BBDO in Houston has won the estimated $2-4 million advertising account of Southwest Bank of Texas.

The agency competed against finalists including incumbent Sachnowitz & Co. and Bates Southwest, both in Houston. Another Houston contender, Fogarty Klein Monroe, withdrew from the review earlier.

No spec creative was requested by the client, although BBDO produced a short film to demonstrate its proposed positioning "to give them a bit of the flavor of where they should be going," said agency executive creative director Pat Cunningham.

SBT, the largest independently owned bank in the Houston metropolitan area with 32 branches, began looking for an agency as it entered a new phase of strategic acquisitions and growth last year.

"We're expanding our traditional focus on middle-market lending," said Alex Calicchia, SBT's vice president of marketing. "That will continue to be our core, but now we're focusing on retail, investment services and international. We have one of the best treasury management services in the country. We just acquired Citizens Bank [in Houston]. It was time to look at and evaluate the branding of the bank."

For BBDO, whose major clients here include petroleum-related accounts such as Texaco gasoline, Havoline motor oil and Shell, the win offers the chance for the agency to diversify its roster.

"We have wanted to work with a bank for a long time and Southwest has been the bank that we've been wanting," said agency managing director Ann Iverson. "We're excited about this."

"Not only are we enthusiastic because it's a new category for us," she said, "but there are resources we can offer [them] as BBDO. There's certain areas ... where they might need some special expertise and we have that through all the companies that BBDO owns."

"There's no other bank like us" is STB's current tagline. A starting date for new work is undecided.