Merchants Bank Taps CPS Direct

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Vermont's Merchants Bank has named CPS Direct Inc., Woburn, MA, as its direct marketing agency of record on a $500,000 account.

CPS won the account in a review involving another undisclosed agency. The agency takes over direct responsibilities from PostScript, Burlington, VT, which retains collateral and Web site assignments for the bank.

"This whole engagement puts a lot more emphasis on direct," said Nick Vadala, CEO of CPS. "They were doing a little direct and needed a more robust agency to do more of that."

CPS is a 140-person agency with billings last year of $79 million. Its clients include Dell Computer, Hyperion Solutions and The Home Service Store.

The Merchants account changed hands just as the bank seeks to ramp up awareness of its retail and commercial services.

A full-service bank in Burlington, VT, Merchants has 34 branches statewide and employs 260 people. It has assets of $747 million. Chittenden Bank is Merchants' major competitor in Vermont.

"Their unique selling point is they want to be a more friendly bank," Vadala said. "They want to have an image that they can handle their customers much better than larger banks, especially in the backdrop of mergers that have gone on.

"They also want to offer some innovative banking products -- online services, money market programs and checking services," he said.

To achieve that positioning, CPS will run direct mail for customer acquisition and print ads for brand awareness. Other services offered include strategy, creative, list acquisition, media, data work and production.

"Basically what we're trying to do is enhance the brand in the Vermont area and also build recognition and additional households and have these households familiar with their brand and product offering," Vadala said.

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