Two months ago financial services company USAA fired its ad agency Campbell Ewald after disclosures that someone at the agency’s San Antonio office had circulated a racist memo making fun of African Americans.
The good news for CE parent Interpublic Group is that USAA has hired MullenLowe U.S., also part of IPG, as its new agency.
Boston-based MullenLowe declined to comment on the newly won account, referring queries to USAA.
A rep for the financial services firm issued this statement:
“USAA is in the process of transitioning its advertising business to MullenLowe U.S., a unit of the Interpublic Group (IPG). Following the transition, MullenLowe will be responsible for strategic and creative leadership on USAA brand and product advertising across the company’s multiple business lines.”
The client noted that MullenLowe will service the USAA business from an office that it is adding in San Antonio, TX, where USAA is based, with additional support provided from the agency’s offices in Boston, and Winston-Salem, NC. Mullen also has offices in New York and Los Angeles.
CE serviced the client out of its San Antonio and Detroit offices.
It was not clear how extensive the USAA search for a new agency was or whether it went beyond IPG. In February, when it fired CE, it confirmed it had begun a search for a new agency that better aligned with the company’s “culture and core values.”
At the time it was not clear whether Interpublic could hang on to the account. But the minute CE was fired, the holding company pulled out all the stops to put together a dedicated team to service the account. All a USAA rep would say about that at the time was, “we will work with IPG on a transition plan as we continue our search.”