WPP beats rivals to win $600m global HSBC account

NEW YORK - HSBC has appointed a group of WPP Group agencies to handle its $600m global advertising and marketing business after a pitch against rivals Interpublic Group and Omnicom.

The London-based bank, and the world's second-largest financial services group, said it had awarded WPP agencies its advertising business, media buying and planning, and direct marketing.

The appointment is a massive blow for Lowe and for embattled Interpublic, which has lost one of its flagship global accounts. It follows the loss of its Verizon Wireless account earlier this year and will put a question mark over the agency's future as a worldwide network.

HSBC did confirm that the new WPP advertising would continue to use the strapline developed by Lowe, "The world's local bank," which has been running globally.

WPP has put together a dedicated team to lead the business, which will be led by Toby Hoare who was appointed in January as chief executive of "team HSBC". Hoare also has an international role at J Walter Thompson.

JWT will be the lead advertising agency on the business and will work with WPP's fourth international network Red Cell/Berlin Cameron in New York and Bates Asia and Batey in Asia Pacific.

The Group M division of WPP will take over the media buying and planning business, which had been held by Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia. MindShare will be the lead media agency with Maximise working on the business in Asia.

Direct marketing will be handled by rmg:connect and 141 Worldwide and branding and corporate identity by Landor.

Peter Stringham, group general manager for marketing at HSBC, said in a statement: "All four companies participating in the review demonstrated world-class resources. However, WPP's ability to coordinate those resources across HSBC's footprint and to tailor them to our needs proved decisive."

He added: "The appointment is a result of a thorough and wide-ranging review of HSBC's previous arrangements and its wish to consolidate its business with one marketing services organisation."

The decision came after a four-month review kicking off in January and which saw Publicis eliminated from the review process in February.

HSBC, which operates in 79 countries and territories, said earlier this year it could make more acquisitions in the US as it goes head to head with rival Citigroup.

Last week, Brand Republic reported that HSBC had delayed making a decision on the review and was holding further meetings with the agencies waiting to find out if they have won the work.

The review is the first HSBC has conducted in five years, following the appointment of Lowe in 1999, and was launched to improve cost effectiveness and the consistency of brand strategy.

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