HSBC confirms shake-up of global marketing activity

LONDON - HSBC has confirmed it will review its global marketing communications account and has invited WPP, Interpublic Group, Publicis Groupe and Omnicom to pitch.

The bank, the second-largest financial services company in the world, is expecting to make an appointment by May. It said that the review, which was first tipped by Campaign magazine on December 5 last year, was being conducted to improve cost effectiveness and the consistency of brand strategy. It will be the first formal review in five years.

The potential loss of the account would come as a blow to Lowe, the incumbent creative agency that devised the current "The world's local bank" slogan. HSBC is one of its biggest clients, spending an estimated £60m through Lowe's global network.

Other agencies to be affected are ZenithOptimedia, owned by Publicis, and the direct marketing agency Rapier.

HSBC said it would be retaining its corporate identity and the "world's local bank" slogan, despite reports that US executives believe it does not work in their market where HSBC does not have a large presence.

The pitch is being overseen by general manager of marketing Peter Stringham, a former president and chief executive of the Omnicom-owned BBDO Canada.

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