Rockland Trust to Hear From 6 Semifinalists

Rockland Trust last week named six semifinalists in the review for its estimated $2-3 million advertising account.

Agencies slated to make capabilities presentations next month are Clarke Goward and Partners & Simons, both in Boston; Devine & Pearson in Quincy, Mass.; Duffy & Shanley and RDW Group, both in Providence, R.I.; and Adams & Knight in Avon, Conn.

Finalists will be named next month, with a decision expected in mid-December, according to Judy Neer, evp of management-consulting company Pile and Co. in Boston, which is overseeing the search.

The incumbent for two years on the business, Pierce-Coté in Osterville, Mass., declined an invitation to defend, said shop president Rebecca Pierce. Recent Rockland Trust ads from Pierce-Coté used the tagline, “We’re all the bank you’ll ever need.”

The company is seeking a shop to support its expansion plans, said client marketing director Richard Hall. The Rockland, Mass.-based bank operates about 50 branches in southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod and has $2 billion in total assets. It is looking to expand within its current range and to make inroads into other areas in Massachusetts.

A goal for agencies in the pitch is to show how they can help Rockland Trust better communicate its three key offerings: retail banking; commercial services; and investment support, Hall has said. Creating ads that tout the bank as capable of providing all three, while remaining true to its small-town values, is paramount.

Rockland Trust and other midsize regionals have been increasingly squeezed by the megabanks. FleetBoston, Citizens Bank and Sovereign Bank in ads have targeted both commercial customers and consumers, forcing smaller banks to compete on multiple fronts. One midsize bank, Banknorth, in ads by Via in Portland, Maine, strives to create its own niche with ads tagged, “It’s nice knowing,” which promise peace of mind.