JPMorgan Chase Embraces Its New Digital Shop

Publicis Groupe's Roar arose from last year's global pitch

It's still early stages for Roar, the new shop that Publicis Groupe created to handle JPMorgan Chase's global digital business, but so far a bank marketing leader likes what he sees.

"It's a great solution, they really hit it out of the park," said Gordon Abel, executive director of the bank's digital marketing group.

Roar creates digital ads for all of JPMorgan Chase's divisions, including retail bank, card services and investment banking. The bank spends an estimated $70-80 million annually on digital media across all divisions.

The new shop is based in New York (the headquarters of Chase as well) and has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, London and Hong Kong. Sean Reardon, Zenith Media's former president of strategy, runs the shop as president.

The genesis of Roar was a pitch late last year for the global digital business, which previously had been split among several shops, including Publicis Groupe units Razorfish and Rosetta, Interpublic Group's Huge and WPP Group's AKQA. To win the review, Publicis Groupe drew executives from several shops, including Razorfish, Rosetta and Zenith Media. Teams from Omnicom Group, Interpublic Group and Dentsu also vied for the assignment. 

During the review, bank executives realized that, "given the volume of business that we do … there probably wasn't a single digital agency out there that could manage all of the work," Abel said. "We felt that by consolidating and building a digital [lead] agency, we'd be able to push for stronger levels of innovation, efficiency and consistency across the firm."

Creating a bespoke unit also got around the problem of financial services conflicts. Finally, it's not unsual for the category: in 2012, Bank of America tapped a WPP Group team to lead its creative work.

As a result of the consolidation, Publicis Groupe agencies handle a large chunk of Chase's business, including digital marketing, media planning and buying (Zenith) and creative responsibilities on the Sapphire credit card (Saatchi & Saatchi). Dentsu's mcgarrybowen, however, remains the brand's lead creative agency in the U.S.

Down the line, Roar will selectively pursue other clients, according to Reardon. In his new role, he reports to both Rishad Tobaccowala, chairman of Razorfish and DigitasLBi and chief strategy and innovation officer for VivaKi , and ZenithOptimedia CEO Tim Jones.

"We're open to understanding how they would want to grow Roar as an agency, but right now we have them focused on building the agency for JPMorgan Chase," Abel said.