Visa Seeks to Consolidate $200 Million Global Creative Account

Incumbents BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi have been invited to participate

a woman on a phone
Visa is hoping to make the change to address its continually evolving strategy. Visa

Visa has launched a review of its creative account with an eye toward consolidating with a single agency of record globally, Visa CMO Lynne Biggar confirmed to Adweek.

Incumbents BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi have both been invited to participate in the process. BBDO has led global creative for Visa since 2012 when it took over for TBWA. Saatchi & Saatchi led creative for Visa Europe, which Visa Inc. acquired for $23.4 billion back in November 2015 and has continued leading creative for Visa in the region.

Biggar said there is “every indication” that the incumbents will participate in the process, adding that Visa is “very grateful for their partnership over the past years” and that they have helped “move the brand forward.”

She explained that Visa will lead the review internally but may seek help from external consultants in the process if needed.

“It seemed based on a number of factors like the right time to do this review,” she said, adding that it’s “coming from a very proactive place” rather than being a result of any negativity or dissatisfaction with its agency partners.

“The world is a different place today than it was four or five months go. This has impacted Visa and its stakeholders,” she explained. “Visa’s strategy is also continually evolving. As a result, we’ve been thinking internally about ensuring our brand maintains strength in the future.”

The review is expected to conclude by the end of the year.

As for what Visa is looking for in a global creative agency of record, Biggar explained the brand wanted to ensure its global creative agency partner could operate on both a strategic brand level and “day-to-day, executional and tactical levels.” They’re also looking for an agency that can carry out key messages with speed and efficiency while sharing best practices that benefit Visa’s whole brand ecosystem globally and identifying opportunities across markets.

Visa works with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom on media buying and planning, and Biggar said that Starcom will continue to serve as Visa’s global media agency of record regardless of the outcome of its global creative review.

The review follows the announcement last month of the impending departure of Visa chief brand and innovation marketing officer Chris Curtin in September.

Visa spends around $200 million on media globally, according to data consultancy COMvergence.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.