Visa’s Lucio Looks to Unify Agency Duties

NEW YORK With global reviews of media and lead creative tasks behind him, Visa global CMO Antonio Lucio now plans to review interactive and direct-marketing duties.

As with the previous contests, the company will look to consolidate the number of direct and digital shops it uses around the world as it seeks a more unified global approach. Visa’s digital agencies include AKQA and Avenue A/Razorfish, and its direct marketing shops, Arc and Tequila.

“That is yet another opportunity for rationalization,” Lucio said last week.

The process is not expected to begin until next year. For now, the Foster City, Calif.-based Visa is focused on completing its consolidation of lead strategic and creative duties at Omnicom Group’s TBWA. That process will likely conclude by Jan. 1.

Previously, Visa used different agencies in different parts of the world, including TBWA\Chiat\Day in the U.S., Omnicom Group’s BBDO in the Asia-Pacific region, WPP Group’s Grey in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Canada and Latin America. Western European duties, at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi in London, were not part of the review.

Lucio told Adweek that TBWA was selected “unanimously” two weeks ago after a three-month process that included a group briefing, work sessions and final pitches at Visa’s headquarters. Asked what set TBWA apart from the three other roster shops that vied for the account, Lucio cited the winner’s “very clear strategic intent” and the “ability to translate that into locally relevant creative.” In addition, he said, the agency presented “almost finished” work.

The task of selecting a shop was “much easier than I anticipated,” Lucio added.

Last year, Visa spent more than $580 million globally on advertising, marketing and promotions, according to a 10K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Revenue on TBWA’s piece is estimated at more than $30 million, according to sources, but that includes the U.S. chores it previously handled. The size of interactive and direct business could not be ascertained.

In April, Visa completed an eight-month global review of media planning and buying duties, consolidating the business at Omnicom’s OMD and WPP’s Mediaedge:cia. OMD, which previously handled duties in the U.S., China and India, added regions previously handled by Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, including Latin America and Canada, and Mediedge:cia retained its duties in Western Europe.