HSBC moves UK account back to JWT from Grey five months in – why did they bother reviewing it?

Here’s today’s Thursday morning special from Campaign – giant bank HSBC is moving its UK retail and ‘wealth management’ accounts back to former incumbent JWT, just five months after moving them in a protracted review.

This was part of a global head-scratching exercise which saw JWT keep the global account (whatever that may be) while Grey (also owned by WPP of course) won the business in other markets. Grey is supposedly keeping some European business although that sounds like a fig leaf. Saatchi & Saatchi (which is not owned by WPP) is supposed to be handling HSBC sponsorship.

Which is also quite interesting as this celebrated British Lions campaign from sponsor HSBC came from JWT.

We did speculate at the time that this ‘review’ was just a way of giving JWT a kick up the arse and it looks as though that’s turned out to be true. Sister agency Grey will be mightily pissed off though.

Apparently Grey’s “lack of retail experience and wider capacity issues” played a part. Aren’t reviews supposed to uncover these things?

So is this any way to run a £400m account (£20m in the UK)? Guess that’s bankers for you.

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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.

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