Visa International, the credit card brand, is reviewing its dollars
40 million pan-European advertising account as it seeks to heighten
awareness of its name across the Continent.
Visa’s account is handled across Europe by Saatchi & Saatchi. Visa,
which is headquartered in the UK, is understood to have spoken to at
least three multinational agencies in London through the Advertising
Agency Register about the pitch. Media, with Zenith, is unaffected.
In the short term, ads are not expected to run in the UK, where Visa is
promot-ed heavily by Barclaycard.
However, the brand has been advertised independently across the rest of
Europe for the past three years.
The review comes three months after the appointment of Karen Hughes,
former account director for Procter & Gamble’s European oral healthcare
business at DMB&B, as head of brand management. Hughes replaced Adrian
New, the man responsible for Saatchis’ much-lambasted Visa Delta
’kerching’ ad starring and directed by Mel Smith.
Hughes is reviewing the business alongside Mark Giffin, Visa
International’s vice-president, advertising. Giffin refused to comment
on the review.
Although Visa is the largest credit and debit card network worldwide,
with 600 million cards in circulation, it has come under increasing
pressure in Europe from the rival brands, Mastercard and American
Recently, Visa’s relationship with some of its member banks has been
strained, with NatWest opting to offer customers Mastercard and Amex
cards, as well as Visa.
Future campaigns across Europe are expected to back Visa Cash, the
network’s answer to Mastercard’s electronic purse system, Mondex. Visa
is also understood to be dropping its debit sub-brand, Delta, in the UK
in favour of a strategy focused on the core brand. This means there will
be no successor to the ’kerching’ ads.
Derek Bowden, Saatchis’ chief executive across Europe, Africa and the
Middle East, refused to comment.