Santander-owned Abbey has consolidated the Bradford& Bingley media accountinto Carat from MediaCom North after acquiring the struggling bank’s savings book last week.
Carat already holds the media planning and buying business for Alliance & Leicester, another bank hit by the credit crunch thatSantander is in the process of buying.
Advertising agency arrangements for Abbey,A&L and B&B remain unchanged, although one agency source suggests Santander will consolidate the business into one agency or network. Abbey’s account is held by WCRS, while McCann Erickson in Birmingham holds A&L and BJL is incumbent on B&B.
A source close to Santander adds that the Spanish-owned bank will look to bring the banks under the Santander “house style”.
Abbey’s branding already prominently carries the Santander flame and red and white colourway. Although a spokesman says the B&B name will continue, it is thought that Santander will rebrand its UK assets under the parent name as early as next year.
A savings campaign booked by B&B ahead of its takeover, but which continued to run after, prompted complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority for suggesting it was a safe place to deposit money (MW.co.uk October 2). Advertising has since been amended, making prominent reference to its Santander association.
Santander is expected to cut the combined spend of the three brands. B&B’s £6m advertising is likely to be slashed, as Abbey only has its savings assets and not the heavily-promoted mortgage business, which has been nationalised.