Discover Starts Creative Review

CHICAGO Discover Financial Services, a unit of Morgan Stanley, is reviewing creative duties on its ad account, a company representative confirmed today.

Discover spent slightly more than $80 million last year on ads, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The company and its agency, Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, are parting after the shop “decided to pursue another opportunity that posed a conflict to our business,” the rep said. She added Goodby would continue to work on the account until a new agency is selected.

The conflicting business is believed to be Visa USA, which has been meeting recently with Omnicom shops, including incumbent BBDO in New York and TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif. A Goodby representative did not immediately return calls.

The Discover representative could not immediately give a timetable for the review, nor say whether the company had hired a consultant. Media duties, currently at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom USA in Chicago, are not believed to be in play.

The Discover account has been troubled at Goodby for some time. In July 2004, the Riverwoods, Ill., company had invited Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago to present ideas on the credit card’s account, though the business ultimately remained with the incumbent.

Discover in September 2004 brought in a new chief marketing officer, Margaret Georgiadis, from McKinsey & Co. Burnett also lost the $80 million Morgan Stanley account amid personnel changes at the client, including the appointment of a new CEO, John Mack, and the departure of chief marketing officer Phil Raskin.

Morgan Stanley recently awarded its $80 million account to WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather in New York, which also handles Discover competitor American Express.