7 Teams Advance in Wachovia Pitch

NEW YORK Seven agency teams have advanced to the visitation round of Wachovia’s creative and media review, the bank has confirmed.

Among the teams that advanced are those led by Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners in New York, WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in New York, Interpublic Group’s Lowe in New York and independent McKinney in Durham, N.C., said sources. The incumbent on interactive creative and media duties, Aegis Group’s Carat in Boston, also advanced and is partnering with independent The Richards Group in Dallas, said sources. The other two teams could not be ascertained.

Each creative agency is partnering with a media shop. McKinney, for example, is teaming with Omnicom’s OMD, said sources.

Among those not advancing was IPG’s Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C., the incumbent for traditional creative and media duties.

A client representative confirmed the number of contending teams but declined to name them. The agencies either declined to comment or did not return calls.

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., is managing the process.

The agencies emerged from a broader field of more than a dozen shops that replied to a request for proposals from Wachovia. Client executives will now visit the agencies and, based on those meetings, will select a handful of finalists to pitch the business. A decision is expected in September.

Not in play are collateral and in-branch marketing efforts, which remain at IPG’s Erwin-Penland in Greenville, S.C.

Wachovia, which spent about $145 million in major measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, has spent more on Internet and radio ads in recent years and much less on network TV and newspaper ads. Between 2003 and 2007, network TV and newspaper spending fell 60 percent and 52 percent, respectively, while Internet and radio spending jumped 1,184 percent and 59 percent, respectively, per TNS.