Shops Eye Bank Merger

Marketing officials from Wells Fargo & Co. and Norwest Corp. met last week with a dozen advertising agencies and branding companies from across the nation to discuss how the banks should present themselves after they merge next year.
Norwest Corp. representative Teresa Morrow stopped short of calling the meetings a review, instead likening them to “informational” interviews. “This is a learning opportunity for us,” she said. “We need to get a sense of what [this merger] is going to involve.”
Morrow declined to name the shops participating in the discussions, but she confirmed that the Los Angeles office of DDB Needham and Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis–lead agencies for Wells Fargo and Norwest Corp., respectively–were in the running. Agency officials could not be reached for comment.
Wells Fargo and Norwest agreed to merge earlier this year in a $34 billion deal that would create the nation’s seventh-largest bank. The resulting entity will take the Wells Fargo & Co. name, with headquarters in San Francisco.
Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco; Norwest is based in Minneapolis. Combined, the two banks’ annual ad spending would be about $20 million. Morrow declined to divulge an advertising budget for the merged bank.
DDB Needham earlier this year broke a campaign for Wells Fargo that leveraged the company’s stagecoach logo and emphasized the importance of the customer’s time.
Carmichael’s work for Norwest has focused on investment services and featured comedian Bob Newhart.
The banks will continue to advertise separately until the merger is completed. –with Teresa Buyikian For the first six months of 1998, Wells Fargo spent $15 million on advertising and Norwest spent $5 million, per Competitive Media Reporting.

In a separate major bank merger, NationsBank and and Bank of America are looking to consolidate their advertising. That review is down to Termerlin McClain, Irving, Texas which is pitching with Bozell Worldwide, New York, against Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York.