Fidelity Investments is in the initial stages of a nationwide search for an advertising agency to handle the $50-60 million launch of its online brokerage services, sources said last week.
Pile and Co., the Boston-based consultancy, is managing the review process. Fidelity has been in contact with several agencies, referring to the assignment in pitch materials as "Livewire," according to sources. It was unclear whether the service itself will also be called Livewire.
Although the Boston-based client would prefer to work with an East Coast advertising agency, geography is not a consideration. Shops in the Southeast, New England, New York, and the Midwest have been contacted, according to sources.
Fidelity Investments' lead agency--Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston--is expected to participate in the review process, sources said.
Officials with Pile and Co. are in the middle of assembling a list of qualified contenders, a process that is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks, sources said.
Shops must have a solid financial services background, no obvious client conflicts and be able to produce a broad branding campaign with broadcast and print components, according to sources.
Pile officials could not be reached for comment last week.
Debra McConnell, a Fidelity Investments representative, declined comment.
E*Trade in Palo Alto, Calif., last week assigned a $100 million ad account to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. Charles Schwab's Web offerings are supported by a national TV campaign from Partners & Simons in Boston.
Fidelity Investments spent $82 million on advertising through the first 10 months of 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting. --with Aaron Baa