Wall Street's branding parade will soon have a Goldman Sachs Group float.
Goldman Sachs, which was one of the last big partnerships on Wall Street until its 1999 initial public offering, announced Tuesday that it has hired the New York agency Ogilvy & Mather to develop a brand and advertising campaign with annual billings reported to be about $25 million.
Consultants say branding an investment bank is a unique challenge in that the qualities being pitched - intellectual capital, trusted advice, creative thinking - are difficult to convey.
Nevertheless, a bunch of Wall Street firms have been seeking the advice of advertising professionals over the last year to burnish their images.
"It's a shrewd move" on Goldman Sachs' part, said Alan Adamson, a consultant at Landor Associates, a New York brand consultant owned by the giant Young & Rubicam agency. "If these firms don't take an active role, they put themselves at risk that others will define them."
Mr. Adamson likened the trend to one that began among consulting firms in the mid-1990s with an advertising drive by Andersen Consulting. Since then, Andersen rival firms including KPMG Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young have joined the fray.
A spokeswoman for Ogilvy, whose other clients include American Express, International Business Machines, and Hershey's, said it was too soon to give details about plans for Goldman Sachs. David May, a vice president at Goldman Sachs in charge of global marketing, was unavailable.
But the campaign is likely to be filled with the same type of imagery that is popular in other investment banks' ads, a consultant said.
Last year J.P. Morgan & Co. started an "I Work for J.P. Morgan"-themed television and print advertising campaign, featuring its own employees touting the company in their native tongue in locations around the globe.
That effort, by Messner Vetere Berg McNamee Schnetterer of New York, was followed up this year with a similar one - carrying the tag "J.P. Morgan Works for Me" - aimed at private banking customers.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. has several brand initiatives in operation, including its "I Choice" ads that pitch a variety of online trading and traditional brokerage services to individuals. The ads, which were introduced in October, were produced by the New York firm Leo Burnett.
Burnett also did the creative work for a long-running ad series for Morgan Stanley's Dean Witter brokerage unit, featuring the now-familiar "One Investor at a Time" refrain.
Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney unit also has a "See How We Earn It" brand campaign afoot. Its television spots, produced by McCann-Erickson, sport fast-moving images and the company's ubiquitous red umbrella. McCann-Erickson's client list also includes MasterCard.
Also bidding for the Goldman Sachs account were D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Mullen Advertising. The work excludes tombstone advertising, which is handled by Doremus, and recruitment advertising, which is done by Mezzina/Brown.
Goldman Sachs' previous agency of record was Ammarati Puris Lintas, a New York firm that recently merged with another firm to become Loew Lintas. It did not participate in the bidding process for the Goldman Sachs account.