Fidelity’s a Real ‘Livewire’

Mutual Funds Giant Seeks Shop for Online Launch
BOSTON–Fidelity Investments has begun a nationwide search for an agency to handle the $50-60 million launch of its online brokerage services, sources said.
Pile and Co., the consulting firm here, is managing the review process and has been in contact with several agencies, referring to the assignment in pitch materials as “Livewire,” according to sources. It was unclear whether the service itself will also be called Livewire.
Although Boston-based Fidelity would prefer to work with an East Coast agency, geography is not a strict consideration, and shops in New England, New York, the Midwest and the Southeast have been contacted, according to sources. Fidelity’s lead agency–Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston–is expected to participate in the review, sources said.
Pile and Co. is now putting together a list of qualified contenders, a process that is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks, sources said.
Shops must have a solid financial services background, no obvious client conflicts and the capability to create broad brand and product campaigns with broadcast and print ads, sources said.
Pile and Co. officials could not be reached last week. Debra McConnell, a Fidelity representative, declined comment.
E*Trade in Palo Alto, Calif., last week assigned its $100 million ad account to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. Charles Schwab’s Web offerings are supported by a national television campaign from Partners & Simons, Boston.
Fidelity spent $82 million on advertising through the first 10 months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
–with Aaron Baa