Solutions Picks Up SunTrust Ad Duties

Client consolidation giveth—and it taketh away.

Case in point: SunTrust’s move to unify its marketing chores at a single shop is a boon for Publicis Groupe’s Solutions, which picks up advertising duties, but is a bane for IPG’s Mullen, which bids farewell to the Atlanta-based bank’s assignment after a two-year run.

A client representative said only that the company, a major financial-services player in Southern markets, made a “strategic decision” to move its business to Solutions in Atlanta, which already handled its digital and direct-marketing chores.

Sources said the shift was driven mainly by a desire to economize, with the company seeking significant savings by using a single supplier for its communications needs.

SunTrust spent $21 million on ads in the first nine months of 2010 after spending $32 million during all of last year, per Nielsen. Just three years ago, spending was estimated at $50 million.

Mullen added SunTrust following a review in October 2008, and handled the business from its office in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Per sources, the loss will necessitate layoffs at the agency, but exact numbers couldn’t be immediately determined.

A Mullen rep declined comment on possible staffing cuts.