Bank Cuts Ties to Cartel Creativo

DALLAS Capital One is not retaining Cartel Creativo, the client confirmed.

The Falls Church, Va.-based financial services company may use the San Antonio shop on future Hispanic projects, but will no longer keep Cartel on retainer, according to client representative Pam Girardo.

“The relationship isn’t over, but as we knew it, it’s over,” Girardo said. “It wasn’t that they were doing poor work for us. To the contrary they were a valuable partner. It was more of a ‘let’s discontinue this retainer relationship and as things come up we’ll look on a project-by-project basis.’ “

The client hired Cartel in July 2001 without a review to work with Princeton, N.J.-based Rosetta Marketing Strategies on planning and a consumer segmentation study.

Girardo attributed the move to a change in business strategy in which the bank is “moderating our growth rate to something that’s more in-line with historic growth rates, in the 20 to 25-percent range,” she said. “One of the ways is we’re focusing new [credit card] originations more heavily on super-prime and prime assets and less on sub-prime assets across the board.”

She said Capital One, which handles its direct business internally, will largely rely on direct mail to reach Latinos.

Capital One is conducing a general-market creative review that was prompted when incumbent D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles of New York was dissolved into Publicis over two months ago. Semifinalists in the review are Grey, McCann-Erickson and The Kaplan Thaler Group, all in New York, Element 79 in Chicago and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., according to Bob Wolf Partners/TPG in Los Angeles, which is leading the search.

Capital One spent $173 million on media through November 2002, according to CMR. Its Hispanic marketing spend is unspecified.

“We have enjoyed working with Capital One since we came on board and we look forward to future assignments,” Cartel CEO Victoria Varela said.