Co-op financial arm hunts for direct marketing agency

Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) is looking to consolidate its below-the-line activities by appointing its first lead direct marketing agency.

The Manchester-based financial services company is speaking to agencies and expects to conclude the review within two months. The group was formed in April 2002 to bring together the Co-operative Bank, the Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) and internet bank Smile under the same leadership.

CFS has previously appointed separate agencies on a project basis and has worked with regional specialists including Blacksheep, The Chase and WWAV Leeds. However, it is looking to reduce the total number of agencies being used and to concentrate working with one agency strategically across the brands.

The eventual lead agency will be supported by two or three specialist agencies. The review is being led by marketing communications head Kelvin Collins.

Farm’s relationship with Smile, which includes above-the-line work, is not affected by the review. A company spokesman says there are no plans to review its planning or buying at this stage.

It is not known how big the account is, although direct marketing makes up a substantial part of CFS’s marketing budget.

Last week, the group announced that it had appointed David Anderson as chief executive (MW last week), following the sudden exit of former boss Mervyn Pedelty in December.

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