Sovereign Bank Enlists Pile for Search

BOSTON Sovereign Bancorp today confirmed it has launched a review for its advertising account through consultancy Pile and Co. here. The work is currently handled in-house.

The Philadelphia-based client spent close to $12 million on ads last year after spending $6 million in 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

A Sovereign representative confirmed that a review is underway but disclosed few details, other than to say the rationale was to improve the bank’s standing “in the marketplace.”

Sources said Sovereign, which ranks as the nation’s 19th largest bank with approximately $60 billion in assets and 650 locations in Northeastern states, is looking to portray itself as a more substantial player as it continues to grow. (For example, Sovereign is in the process of acquiring Independence Community Bank of Brooklyn, N.Y.)

The bank is seeking a broad branding platform and a long-term agency partner, as it solidifies its hold in current markets (New England) and moves into new ones (New York), sources said. Recent work has stressed customer service and has no tagline.

Pile and Co. looks to have a list of semifinalists by mid-December, with a decision likely to come early in January.

Agencies with a strong Northeast presence, no banking conflicts and some category experience are being contacted, sources said.

—Adweek staff report