HSBC pits Omnicom against WPP in $600m pitch

It’s two from WPP versus one from Omnicom in the shoot-out for HSBC’s $600m global account (according to Campaign) with incumbent JWT and Grey up against BBDO spearheaded by the UK’s AMV/BBDO.

Despite the numerical disadvantage you’d have to make Omnicom and BBDO favourite.

AMV/BBDO is the UK’s biggest agency and the proverbial safe pair of hands with big clients but it hasn’t a bank although it’s worked for insurance company Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) for years. It handles Sainsburys which also has a niche banking business but presumably it’s covered that one off.

HSBC is headquartered in the UK (somewhat reluctantly these days as it keeps moaning about government regulation) although its roots lie in Hong Kong and the Far East (Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation as it was). So a lead UK agency makes sense and AMV is the obvious choice.

JWT has failed to put its stamp on the account which, until recently, still ran with Lowe’s ‘The World’s Local Bank’ (left). Grey has improved out of sight recently but intrepid Irish bookie Paddy Power would probably still make AMV odds on.

The surprise is that HSBC hasn’t added a creative high-flyer to the list, just to rattle the cages of the big boys if nothing else. BBH would be an obvious choice. It still might of course. If it doesn’t it could find itself with something worse than the world’s local bank. A $600m account (with a new agency it will probably be more than that) makes you reluctant to take chances.

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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.