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Monday, October 16, 2000

Bankoh dismisses
longtime agency
Starr Seigle

The bank is shifting almost
all the work to an
L.A. company

By Russ Lynch

Bank of Hawaii has dropped the advertising agency it has employed for some 30 years, Honolulu-based Starr Seigle McCombs Inc., saying it needs an agency with broader experience handling financial institutions.

Bankoh The bank said it is "unbundling" its advertising and the strategy and creative side has been passed to Ideaology in Los Angeles.

Inter-Media Inc., a Hawaii company, will handle media buying, selecting where to place the bank's print advertisements and broadcast commercials.

Starr Seigle will not be entirely out of the picture. The bank's announcement said Starr-Tech, a Starr Seigle subsidiary, will continue to handle creative work for the bank's Web site.

Ideaology has an impressive track record in the financial services area and its key principals have worked on campaigns for such large financial institutions as Wells Fargo, Sanwa Bank California, City National Bank and Transamerica, said Lori McCarney, Bank of Hawaii executive vice president and director of marketing.

Inter-Media, owned by Louise Saffery, has been in business for 17 years and has a strong local reputation, McCarney said.

McCarney said that while the bank's priority will continue to be the Hawaii community, "we must ensure our ability to compete in what has become a global financial services marketplace." That is why a new agency was chosen, after input from local agencies and others outside Hawaii, she said.

"Starr-Seigle's experience is good, but it's just been with us," McCarney said today. "We really wanted somebody with broader financial experience than they could bring to it."

Jack Bates, chairman of Starr Seigle McCombs parent Starr Seigle Communications, said today that the loss of the Bank of Hawaii account will not mean any loss of jobs at his company.

"We're going to move some people around," he said, but no layoffs are anticipated.

If this had happened three years ago, when the bank was a big part of the agency's business, "it would have been a very significant loss," Bates said.

"But just as they've been evolving and changing, so have we," he said. "We certainly hold no grudge," he said.

For competitive reasons, neither Bates nor McCarney would disclose the size of the Bank of Hawaii's advertising account.

Bank of Hawaii is the major subsidiary of Pacific Century Financial Corp., which has assets of $14.3 billion.

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