It’s Official: WaMu to TBWA\C\D

LOS ANGELES Washington Mutual has confirmed hiring Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., as lead agency on its $100 million-plus ad account. Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago was the previous lead shop. Adweek.com first reported the shift yesterday.

“Our goal is to be the nation’s leading consumer and small business bank, which reflects our vision, and we believe TBWA\Chiat\Day will help us establish this positioning,” said Genevieve Smith, CMO at WaMu, in a statement.

“Washington Mutual is a unique company with distinct values, products and services that distinguish it from other banks. Our job is to tell more people what this great brand stands for,” said Carisa Bianchi, agency president.

New work is scheduled to break in the first quarter of 2008.

Sources said there was no review for the business.

As part of the shift, TBWA\C\D sibling OMG will handle media buying, which it adds from Publicis’ Starcom.

The client spent $120 million on domestic ads last year and nearly $75 million through the first two-thirds of 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

In late 2005, Burnett had prevailed in a review conducted by Select Resources International against sibling shop Publicis in Seattle.

Smith said at the time that the company was “excited about working with Leo Burnett and believe their creativity and extensive advertising expertise will further leverage our brand and better enable us to stand out from the competition.”

Burnett’s well-known humorous ads have featured a hip spokesman and a bunch of often stuffy old-fashioned bankers, kept in pens behind ropes until they conform to conducting business the customer-centric WaMu way.

In one memorable spot from earlier this year that generated mild controversy, the bankers inched their way to a rooftop edge, threatening to go over unless WaMu stopped offering free checking.

This story updates an item posted Oct. 16 with client confirmation and additional information.