Bank of the West Launches Creative Agency Review

By Patrick Coffee 


Bank of the West is looking for a new creative agency of record after ending its five-year relationship with Heat last month.

The San Francisco-based company, which is a subsidiary of French financial giant BNP Paribas, has worked with Heat since early 2011. In its last review, Heat beat out S.F. indie Eleven, BSSP and DeVito/Verdi to win the business, which included broadcast, outdoor, mobile, print, experiential and sponsorship work.


From a Bank of the West spokesperson:

“Bank of the West is currently soliciting proposals from qualified firms for a new agency of record to support the Banks marketing and advertising activities. We mutually agreed to part ways with our existing agency due to a conflict of interest.”

This news comes just over a week after Bank of the West named Nandita Bakhshi as its new CEO. Her predecessor Michael Shepherd left the role to become chairman of a new holding company encompassing all of BNP Paribas’ U.S.-based subsidiaries. Bakhshi previously held top executive positions at TD Bank and Washington Mutual.

The cause of the break was last month’s acquisition of Heat by international consultancy Deloitte, which is attempting to expand its offerings by acquiring shops with more creative capabilities. Due to federal regulations, the SEC does not allow Deloitte or, by extension, Heat to provide non-audit services to clients that it also audits. Deloitte currently audits Bank of the West’s parent company.

Heat had created a number of campaigns for the client over the past five years. Its first efforts broke with previous campaigns, which had been focused on lifestyle photography, in an attempt to differentiate Bank of the West from its competitors.

One prominent spot in the subsequent “Stories of the West” campaign was “Qvale,” which is effectively a mini-bio of late auto executive Kjell Qvale.

Sources close to the matter tell us that the account is worth approximately $5 million and that a number of shops based in Los Angeles and San Francisco are currently involved in the pitch.