WPP Group has triumphed in the bid to win HSBC’s $600m (&£342m) global advertising, media and direct marketing business after an exhaustive worldwide pitch.
The WPP win is a crushing blow for incumbent Lowe, part of the Interpublic Group, and is a big disappointment for Omni-com Group, which also pitched.
WPP’s win means PHD will lose HSBC’s &£23.2m UK media buying and planning account. WCRS will lose the &£5.1m advertising account for First Direct, HSBC’s UK telephone and internet bank, tipped to go to WPP-owned HHCL/Red Cell by industry insiders.
The review was overseen by HSBC head of group marketing Peter Stringham. Pitches were held in 12 cities worldwide, beginning in Asia, and were led by group chief executives. Publicis Groupe was also asked to take part in the invitation-only pitch, but dropped out of the running in February.
WPP will be responsible for all HSBC’s above- and below-the-line communications globally, except for public relations. J Walter Thompson will be the lead agency. The win is a boost for WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell’s ambitions for growth in Asia.
Stringham was previously a senior advertising executive. He left his post of chief executive of Young & Rubicam North America after it was bought by WPP. He was also at Omnicom for 16 years.
Lowe, which has held the account since 1999, was responsible for creating HSBC’s “The world’s local bank” positioning, which the bank says will continue. HSBC operates in 81 countries and claims to have 110 million customers.