Visa awards Publicis Groupe Olympics sponsorship account

Visa is understood to have awarded Publicis Groupe the pan-European ad account for its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics, following a pitch.

The agency network pitched against WPP, led by SSF UK chief executive, Robert Senior. Publicis Groupe agencies working on the business include Saatchi & Saatchi, ZenithOptimedia, Publicis Dialog and Digitas.

In February, Saatchi & Saatchi launched a new TV ad for Visa. It features an naked man running through the desert in a desperate attempt to get to his wedding ceremony.

On the way he buys a ring, a suit and he gets a haircut before arriving at the church on time. The ad carries the endline: “Life flows better with Visa”.

Last year, Visa Europe appointed former Levis marketing chief Colin Clarke to senior vice president of brand management. He is responsible for all brand activity across Europe through all channels, including advertising, promotions and online.

Publicis Groupe recently reported a 1.1% drop in full-year net profit and has predicted a “very difficult” 2009. Group revenues rose 0.7% to €4.7bn (£4.2bn) while European revenues dipped 2.6% on 2007.

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