Publicis is first casualty in $600m global HSBC review

LONDON – HSBC has cut French ad giant Publicis Groupe from its $600m global advertising, marketing and communications review, leaving three rival holding companies in the race for the financial services giant's business.

Agencies owned by Publicis Groupe had been invited to pitch alongside those owned by Interpublic Group and Omnicom Group in New York and WPP Group in London.

HSBC spokeswoman Caroline Mooney confirmed the move to drop the French group. The bank, the second-largest financial services company in the world, said that the review was being conducted to improve cost effectiveness and the consistency of brand strategy.

It is the first formal review the firm has conducted in five years, although the bank has already said that it does not plan to drop its current corporate identity -- the "world's local bank" slogan -- despite concerns that it does not work in markets where HSBC does not have a strong presence.

The decision to retain the "world's local bank" slogan is a fillip for incumbent creative agency Lowe & Partners, which can ill afford to lose the £60m account.

With Publicis out of the race, media business held by ZenithOptimedia will now be on the move. However, its final destination will not become clear until the review is concluded in May.

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