Grey loses HSBC's UK retail business to JWT

The banking giant moves the UK retail creative brief back to the previous incumbent five months after appointing Grey.

HSBC: the six-month review split the creative account between JWT, Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi
HSBC: the six-month review split the creative account between JWT, Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi

HSBC has moved its estimated £20 million UK retail and wealth management advertising account back into JWT London, just five months after awarding the global retail business to Grey as part of a new ad agency roster.

The bank called a global review of its creative and media accounts, which were held by JWT and Mindshare respectively, in October last year. After a six-month process, it split the £400 million ad business three ways between Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi and the sister WPP shops JWT and Grey.

Among the changes, HSBC’s entire European retail banking account was shifted out of JWT and into Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi was given the sponsorship activity and JWT held on to HSBC’s global brand business.

However, the UK retail account, which makes up the bulk of the European business, has now returned to JWT London. It is not clear why HSBC decided to reappoint JWT, although insiders said Grey’s lack of retail experience and wider capacity issues played a part.

Grey will continue to work with HSBC across a number of regions on multiple accounts, including the retail advertising business outside of the UK.

An HSBC spokesman said: "As announced earlier in 2013, HSBC’s advertising is now split across three creative agencies on its roster. With JWT being one of the agencies, the decision was made to extend its current remit to include HSBC’s UK retail banking and wealth management account."

HSBC’s group general manager and global head of marketing, Chris Clark, led the review process globally, with regional support from Philip Mehl, the pan-European head of marketing.

Five agencies were initially invited to pitch for the advertising business during the closed process, with McCann Erickson and BBDO participating in earlier stages.

Mindshare retained the global media planning and buying account.

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