Last year, Security Pacific's ad firm gave the bank a spiffy new slogan: "Your bank for life." But, for the advertising agency, the slogan has ended up being more like "your bank for a year."
On Thursday, Security Pacific Corp. fired Hal Riney & Partners, the San Francisco-based firm that just one year ago created that phrase and handed its $25-million advertising business to a Los Angeles ad firm.
The big winner is the Los Angeles office of D'Arcy, Masius Menton & Bowles. It suddenly ranks as one of the fastest-growing agencies in the country. Over the past year, the firm's Los Angeles office has picked up nearly $150 million in new business from a string of major clients, including Denny's, Paramount Pictures and NBC. Now, it has also added the nation's sixth-largest bank holding company to its roster.
"I'm proud to say, we beat the best," said James D. Helin, managing director of D'Arcy's Los Angeles office. He said that as result of the win over Riney's agency, his firm's Los Angeles office will likely hire up to 18 new employees within the next month.
But the victory did not come easily. About a year ago, D'Arcy was vying with Riney for the same Security Pacific business, but lost in close competition. D'Arcy, meanwhile, has been creating advertising for Arizona Bank. So, when Security Pacific recently purchased that bank--along with Ranier Bank and Oregon Bank--it decided to once again put its advertising up for review. It will change all of the bank names to Security Pacific.
Then, on Thursday, D'Arcy was awarded the expanded business. "We have confidence in their ability to communicate a common identity for our retail banking," said Barbara Fallon-Walsh, senior vice president at Security Pacific.
When Hal Riney & Partners picked up the bank as a client in 1987, the firm opened its Los Angeles office to handle the account. Now, said John Yost, senior vice president and general manager of the firm, "We'll have to rethink what to do with that office. . . . We expect to make a decision by the end of the year."
He said the office, which once employed a dozen people, now employs three.
Riney's firm is best known for creating the popular Bartles & Jaymes wine spots, before quitting the $70-million Gallo wine business earlier this year.
Riney has also picked up several major pieces of new business this year, including the new Saturn division of General Motors and the Stroh Brewery Co.
Perhaps the Riney firm's most familiar TV commercial for Security Pacific featured a kid who comes home from school with a lousy report card. When the boy's father takes him up to the attic--for what the kid expects will be a spanking--the father instead pulls an old report card out from a dusty chest and shows his son that he, too, once had a bad one.
Although the ad was highly regarded by some advertising executives, it was also criticized by others as being too confusing. There is no indication--until the very end of the commercial--that the ad is for a bank.
Security Pacific, meanwhile, says it will continue to use the Riney-created theme-line, "Your bank for life." But D'Arcy's Helin says that the new spots--expected to run in early 1989--will "leave no doubt" that the advertiser is a bank.