$80 Mil. Morgan Stanley Account in Play

CHICAGO Morgan Stanley today said it is reviewing the creative portion of its advertising account. Estimated billings are $80 million.

The financial services company said it has invited the 17-year incumbent, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, to defend. The Chicago-based agency said it has parted ways with the client.

Late Thursday, the client issued a brief statement: “Morgan Stanley’s goal is communicating our brand as effectively as possible. To that end, we initiated an agency review and invited Leo Burnett as well as several other agencies to participate. That process is continuing, and we appreciate the contribution that Leo Burnett has made to the firm.”

A company representative declined to elaborate.

“In light of recent changes at Morgan Stanley, Leo Burnett has decided to resign as its advertising agency of record,” according to a statement from Burnett. “We tremendously value our long-standing partnership with Morgan Stanley and wish them the best.”

The shop had handled creative chores on the account in several iterations since 1988. Burnett survived a client merger in the late 1990s, when then-client Dean Witter merged with Morgan Stanley.

John Mack was named CEO of Morgan Stanley earlier this summer, and client CMO Phil Raskin, a former Burnett executive, also recently left the company.

The company spent nearly $160 million on all advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. About half of that was for the Morgan Stanley brand, while the other half was spent on its Discover credit card. Discover is handled by Omnicom’s Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

This story updates an item posted earlier today with the news that Morgan Stanley has launched a review.

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