Deutsch Gets BofA

NEW YORK Bank of America is poised to move its $170 million creative and media account to Deutsch to resolve the banking conflicts raised in the pending merger of Bozell and Lowe, its sister Interpublic Group agencies, sources said. Lowe has HSBC Corp., a direct conflict with Bank of America.

Yesterday, the client moved its investment banking, asset management, premier banking and commercial banking business to IPG’s Gotham [Adweek, Feb. 6]. The Charlotte, N.C. client had a “kick-off” meeting with Gotham on Wednesday and agency CEO Stone Roberts confirmed the assignment on Thursday. He declined to discuss billings but sources pegged them at more than $20 million.

The client consolidated the account late last year at Bozell after a shootout between IPG shops and those of Omnicom, which also held a piece of the business. IPG’s Initiative handles media, which is now also moving to Deutsch, sources said.

The deal, which is not yet final, raises the question of Deutsch’s relationship with J.P. Morgan Chase. The agency, which handles direct and interactive business for the financial services company, was to be briefed today for a new credit-card assignment [Adweek, Feb. 5], sources said.

J.P. Morgan Chase’s lead creative agency is IPG’s Foote, Cone & Belding, which was also to be briefed on the credit-card work. The client spent $40-45 million overall in U.S. media in 2002, per CMR.

Neither agency nor client executives could immediately be reached for comment.