JPMorgan Chase Media Review on Hold

Expected to resume in Q1

So whatever happened to that $400 million JPMorgan Chase media review?

Last spring, the financial giant reached out to media networks to handle all of its media planning and buying, currently handled by Zenith Media. Now it looks like the search is on hold until early next year and the Publicis Groupe unit continues to handle the business, at least until then.

The delay is occurring because Chase has been unable to build internal consensus, sources said. The review was initiated by the company’s procurement office, a move which caught marketing execs by surprise, and Chase’s financial types initially led the review process, sources added. If that wasn’t tough enough of a challenge in getting everyone on the same page, there have also been subsequent staff changes within Chase’s marketing ranks, and some of the individuals originally involved in the process have since assumed different roles.  

A Chase representative declined to comment, as did one at Zenith Media, which won the business in 2005.

It could not be determined which agencies have made presentations to the client, but those last meetings occurred three months ago.

While the company’s JP Morgan corporate banking operation is a global enterprise, Chase is a brand used for credit cards in the U.S. and Canada and retail and commercial banking in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Capital One moved its $360 million media account from Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, which had handled it for nearly 10 years, to independent Horizon, after a review.  In the view of one observer, there could be more account moves in the offing.

"I'd be surprised if most retail banks don't do this in the next 12-18 months," said the executive. "They have to sharpen their communications with customers and let them know that they are really serious about change."