Banks Talking To Agencies

Norwest, Wells Fargo Seeking Post-Merger Identity
CHICAGO–Marketing officials from Norwest Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. met last week with a dozen advertising agencies and branding companies nationwide to discuss how the banks should present themselves after they merge next year.
Teresa Morrow, a representative for Minneapolis-based Norwest Corp., characterized the meetings as “informational interviews” rather than a formal review. “We need to get a sense of what [this merger] is going to involve,” she said.
Morrow declined to name the agencies it has met with other than to confirm that lead Norwest agency Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, and DDB Needham, Los Angeles, agency for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, are participating. Agency officials could not be reached for comment.
In June, the two banks agreed to merge in a $34 billion deal that would create the nation’s seventh-largest bank. The resulting company will keep the Wells Fargo & Co. name and be headquartered in San Francisco. Advertising for the two banks will remain separate until the merger is completed in mid-1999, Morrow said.
Carmichael Lynch’s latest work for Norwest focused on investment services it offers and featured comedian Bob Newhart. The campaign was tagged, “To the Nth degree.”
Norwest’s advertising for the first half of 1999 is expected to focus less on new products and more on continuity through the merger, she said.
DDB Needham earlier this year broke a campaign for Wells Fargo that leveraged the company’s long-standing stagecoach logo, while emphasizing the importance of the customer’s time. The campaign introduced a new tagline, “Fast then. Fast now.”
Morrow declined to divulge an ad budget for the merged bank. Through the first six months of 1998, Wells Fargo spent about $15 million on advertising and Norwest spent about $5 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.