HSBC and Pfizer review global ad agency deals

Giant global bank HSBC has announced it’s reviewing its global ad account worth about $1bn at WPP’s JWT and media buyer GroupM while pharma giant Pfizer has said it’s dumping Interpublic and concentrating its work into WPP, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe.

But that’s what big clients do.

The HSBC deal with WPP came via Peter Stringham, as I recall, an ex-Y&R big cheese who went to HSBC as marketing boss before returning to Y&R. HSBC’s big campaign ‘The World’s Local Bank,’ the best one in banking for years, was actually devised by IPG’s Lowe but the agency was crunched by the WPP juggernaut.

Pfizer isn’t saying anything about which agencies within its three chosen holding companies are about to receive its largesse, but it spends over $2bn a year so it’s certainly in the driving seat as far as getting a good financial deal is concerned.

It will worry IPG that it didn’t make the cut with Pfizer, various bits of McCann have handed various bits of Pfizer recently. When it comes to these increasingly frequent holding company pitches IPG tends to miss out. Apart from digital agency R/GA and Deutsche it doesn’t really have any go-to agency brands.

Pfizer’s media is staying with Aegis-owned Carat.

The interesting thing about both these processes is whether or not any creative agencies get a look in. Wieden+Kennedy is the big client’s choice of the moment, there are others like Mother, Droga5 and Publicis Groupe-owned BBH in the wings. Santos is terrific in South America (as is the PG-owned Saatchi). WPP’s Ogilvy produces some great stuff in France.

Havas’s BETC isn’t bad either, although you might not unleash them on banking or pharmaceuticals. Dunno if Omnicom has a big bank or not.

Maybe even Try/Apt in Oslo?

Anyway, we’ll see. Both of these deals are said to be driven by procuirement. Yuk!

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.