Eastern Bank Moves Account to Mullen

BOSTON Eastern Bank has awarded its ad account to Interpublic Group agency Mullen, the client confirmed. Upcoming TV, radio and print ads for the client will be tagged, “This is our territory.”

Eastern has been with independent Connelly Partners here for seven years, but has worked with Mullen in Wenham, Mass., before. Annual ad spending is $1-2 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“I wish Eastern all the best,” said Connelly Partners chief executive Steve Connelly. “There are absolutely no hard feelings. Some clients simply prefer an agency of 500 people to an agency of 50.”

Competition among local institutions has been fierce as numerous smaller and mid-level banks (such as Eastern with $4.5 billion in assets and 50 branches) jockey for position against a few larger players including FleetBoston Financial (which is being acquired by Bank of America), Citizens Bank, Sovereign Bancorp and Banknorth.

Boston-based Eastern, which bills itself as the state’s largest independent, mutually owned bank, in September signed NFL quarterback and local legend Doug Flutie as its spokesman through 2005 [Adweek Online, Sept. 26]. He will make personal appearances and may appear in ads for the bank. Meanwhile, Citizens and Banknorth are in the midst of campaigns touting their respective free checking accounts.