BREAKING: BMO Harris Launches Creative Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Chicago-based BMO Harris, which is currently one of the largest banks in the Midwest, has launched an agency review.

The official comment from a company spokesperson:

“We have an agency review under way for a part of our advertising portfolio. We use an agency of collaboration model and it is not unusual for us to bring new talent into the team as our needs evolve.”

Incumbent Y&R confirmed that it will not participate in the review.

BMO Harris’s last creative search occurred in 2012 after a merger. Y&R Chicago, then led by CCO Bob Winter, won part of the business, which had been with Element79 for five years. In November 2013, the client officially named Y&R its creative agency of record, expanding the existing relationship so that Y&R’s offices in Chicago, Toronto and New York would handle all marketing responsibilities across digital and traditional platforms.

The agency’s best-known work for the client, which also debuted in late 2013, featured players from the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks. Subsequent campaigns also used the hometown teams to promote the bank, most recently with the #BMOBiggestFan hashtag.

The client has made some organizational changes. Mark Furlong, CEO of Canadian parent company BMO Financial Group, retired on June 1st, and the company told analysts last month that it is “in cost-cutting mode” in order to “drive operating efficiencies” by thinning the ranks of its management. This almost certainly means less money spent on advertising as well.

No word at the moment on which shops are involved in the review or when it will be completed.