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Fleet Banks on Hill, Holliday

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Round one in the battle for the combined advertising account of Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston has gone to Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
The Boston agency last week was awarded a branding assignment to help position the combined entity after Fleet's purchase of its rival is completed later this year.
Hill, Holliday, which works for BankBoston, is charged with making recommendations on issues of brand positioning, name and logo design, said Anne Finucane, who heads up marketing for Fleet.
Asked why Hill, Holliday was chosen for the assignment over Fleet's lead agency, Boston-based Arnold Communication, Finucane said both Fleet and BankBoston "felt comfortable with them doing it." She would not elaborate.
The assignment does not include media advertising. The budget was not disclosed.
"It's not often you get the opportunity to work with two great franchises at the same time," said Hill, Holliday representative Eric Fehrnstrom.
Arnold officials could not be reached by press time.
Finucane stressed that no decision regarding the ultimate fate of the combined ad account, which may top $50 million, has been made.
In fact, it also remains unclear whether she or BankBoston's Ira Jackson will head up the combined entity's marketing department, said Finucane, a former Hill, Holliday senior employee.
However, most observers believe Finucane--a valued advisor to Fleet chairman and chief executive Terry Murray--has the post sewn up.
Initially, the new entity was touted as Fleet Boston, but even that name is apparently up for review and may change.
Fleet spent about $30 million on advertising last year; BankBoston spent $25 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.