£10m Centrica banking account goes to TBWA

British Gas holding company Centrica has appointed TBWA/London to handle the creative work for its new Internet and telephone bank, believed to be worth up to &£10m.

The bank, a 70:30 joint venture between the company’s financial offshoot Goldfish and Lloyds TSB, is to launch next month – probably under the name Goldfish Life.

TBWA/London handles the &£6.8m account (AC Nielsen MEAL, June 1999) for Goldfish, which offers credit cards. Manning Gottlieb Media handles media. The Goldfish Internet bank account was handed to TBWA/London without a pitch.

The Goldfish Internet bank will launch with individual savings accounts (ISAs) backed by a national press campaign. At the beginning of the second quarter, the online bank will offer current and savings accounts to be followed by mortgages and life and term assurances later in the year. Its current account customers will have access to ATMs for cash withdrawals.

A “heavyweight” above-the-line campaign for the bank is planned for the third quarter.

Alison Bousfield, marketing manager at Goldfish, will be acting marketing director, reporting to Peter Barrett, managing director of Goldfish Financial Services.

Group marketing director at Centrica Simon Waugh says: “We will be looking at appointing a senior marketer to develop this business externally and internally. The bank, which will offer an integrated proposition to our customers, will be launched under the Goldfish brand”.

The company has no plans to create a retail presence for its bank.

There are 1.1 million Goldfish credit card holders in the UK, through a partnership between Centrica and HFC. That partnership ends in September this year and, according to Centrica, the credit card customers will then be transferred to its new joint venture with Lloyds TSB.

Centrica launched into telecoms – British Gas Communications – last year, with a &£9m campaign.

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