Santander seeks agency to make it high street favourite

Agencies fight it out for chance to rebrand Abbey and Bradford & Bingley next year.

Recognisable: Abbey will be renamed Santander
Recognisable: Abbey will be renamed Santander

Spanish banking behemoth Santander is on the hunt for a PR agency to promote next year's rebrand of both Abbey and Bradford & Bingley.

Santander needs a top agency to handle the consumer launch of the two rebrands, working across national and local media. Six agencies have been invited to pitch for the business and a decision is expected next month.

Abbey's head of corporate comms Anthony Frost is heading the pitch. He said the work would run from September to March next year.

In May, Santander announced it was rebranding its three UK businesses Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and the savings division of Bradford & Bingley, under its own name.

'Santander is already well recognised in the UK. Awareness has risen considerably in the past two years from about 20 per cent to 85 per cent, and customer and non-customer research confirms that the brand is generally viewed positively,' said Frost.

'The launch of Santander into the UK high street will build on this and the PR activity will serve a dual purpose: to announce Santander has arrived and to help raise awareness in the local communities where branches are based,' he said.

Abbey and Bradford & Bingley will be renamed in the first three months of next year and Alliance & Leicester by the end of 2010, when the switch to Santander's IT system is completed.

Bradford & Bingley's mortgage business is owned by the Government, and will continue to operate under the Bradford & Bingley brand.

The pitch will not impact on Abbey's ongoing personal finance agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson, or its corporate work with Brunswick.

Bradford & Bingley's savings division does not use a consumer agency.

SANTANDER FACTS

Santander has announced a 30 per cent jump in profits for the first half of 2009

Once the rebrand is completed, customers will have access to 1,300 branches by the end of 2010

The firm is on track to achieve £180m in synergies from integrating the three brands

Santander sponsors Formula 1 motor racing and British world champion Lewis Hamilton

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