Compass Bank Evaluates Hurley, Four Others

boston—For the first time in more than a decade, Compass Bank has launched a review of its advertising account and is considering several area shops in addition to its longtime incumbent, Hurley Chandler & Chaffer, Providence, R.I.

Susan Nelson, assistant vp, advertising and communications manager for Compass Bank in New Bedford, Mass., confirmed that the company has narrowed its list of contenders to five, after speaking with about a dozen agencies.

Pitching are Gearon Hoffman, Clarke Goward, Partners & Si mons and Kelley Habib John Integrated Marketing, all of Bos ton, as well as the incumbent.

The agencies are scheduled to make presentations in mid-April; a decision is expected by the middle of May. The pitch will focus on new strategies and concepts for the bank.

Nelson would not disclose the advertising budget. Last year, Compass Bank spent less than $1 million on advertising.

Hurley Chandler has been lead agency for Compass Bank for 14 years. Nelson said the shop was invited to defend based on its longstanding relationship with the client and its knowledge of the account.

“We’ve been extremely happy with [Hurley Chandler] … but from a corporate perspective, we had a responsibility [to explore new possibilities],” said Nelson. “We wanted to see if a gap could be filled.”

A recent print push last month by Hurley Chandler touted the bank’s premier checking-account offerings. Another print ad, which broke at the same time, touted the bank’s equity programs. Last year a broadcast effort with the line, “Life can be hard, so we make banking easy,” aired in the Providence market.

The new agency will be charged with crafting a campaign that will likely include broadcast and print components. Compass Bank, which is a subsidiary of Seacoast Financial Services Corp., does not currently use a tagline.