WILMINGTON, DE: In the same month as Ketchum lost its grip on the longstanding Visa account, Bank One, one of the largest global issuers of Visa cards, has tapped the agency to handle its card services division in the US.
David Webster, SVP of business affairs for card services, explained, "We experienced Ketchum in our relationship with Visa."
Bank One's card services, with 53 million card members, and over 1,200 cobranded cards with partners such as Amazon. com, United Airlines, and Ann Taylor, previously used Edelman. The card services division did not conduct an open review.
"PR is becoming a very important part of our strategy to grow business," said Webster.
He added that as the card business has become commoditized, it's essential to give customers a choice. "PR plays a role in helping consumers understand what our products do and provide in the way of choice."
Ketchum's San Francisco office will handle the account, drawing on its financial, corporate, and branding practices.
"The real value of PR here is education and awareness," said Ketchum VP Mark Undercoffler. "Some industries are not as aware of what a cobranded card can do for them."
Doug Kinzley, director of Ketchum's San Francisco office, explained that each cobranded card needs its own PR message. "In building Bank One's brand, each of their offerings will also require its own message, and that will require different kinds of implementation. The customer for the Disney card will be more family-oriented, while the United (Airlines) customers will focus more on travel benefits."