M/W Among 4 Finalists After Fidelity

Minneapolis agency Martin/Williams is among four finalists chasing Fidelity Investments’ estimated $50-60 million online brokerage account, sources said.
Lead Fidelity agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston is also in the hunt, along with New York agencies Gotham and Grey Advertising, sources said.
Skip Pile, president of Pile and Co., the management consulting firm in Boston that is overseeing the review, declined comment, as did Fidelity representative Debra McConnell. Agency officials referred calls to the client.
About 20 agencies nationwide were contacted about pitching the business, but most larger shops had conflicts with existing brokerage or banking clients, sources said.
M/W currently has financial clients in Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank and financial services company Lincoln Financial Group, Fort Wayne, Ind. However, those companies are not considered conflicts because they do not offer the kinds of services Fidelity is proposing for its online business, sources said.
Gotham previously handled online brokerage E*Trade; Grey handles no direct competitors.
Fidelity is seeking an agency to support the launch of its revamped online trading services. The assignment is referred to in pitch materials as “Livewire” [Adweek, March 15].
Contenders met with Fidelity executives at the mutual fund company’s Boston headquarters about a week ago, and were briefed on speculative assignments that will be evaluated in the next round of the review, sources said. A decision is expected before month’s end.
The winning agency will be asked to support the expanded online service through a nationwide branding campaign that will include TV and print ads, sources said. The client spent more than $80 million on advertising last year, mainly through Hill, Holliday, which enlisted financial guru Peter Lynch and comedian Don Rickles for the work.
–with Aaron Baar