FCB Wins BMO Harris Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Last month we broke the news (yes, really) that BMO Harris, one of the largest banks in Canada and the Midwestern U.S., would launch a creative review after working with Y&R for more than three years and officially naming the shop its AOR in 2013.

Last night, the client announced that it had chosen FCB as its new lead agency despite telling us that it always prefers “an agency of collaboration model.”

The choice is not particularly surprising. Like Y&R, FCB has offices in the key cities of Toronto and Chicago–and unlike Y&R, it also has a location in Montreal. (BMO is the Bank of Montreal.)

“Canada’s fourth largest bank,” which also happens to be everyone’s most favorite client, partnered with Y&R after ending a ten-year fling with The Great White North’s own Cossette, and The Globe and Mail claims that part of the move involved the client’s need to unify its U.S. and Canadian ad strategies. The organization also named a new CMO last month, and we’re a little surprised by how quickly they turned this review around.

The bigger trend, though, sounds familiar: stuffy Canadian banks want to get their campaigns noticed, so they needed to bring in some digital ninjas who refuse to communicate via anything but Snapchat. A spokesperson told The Globe and Mail that “cost was not the primary concern,” which is one of the less believable statements we’ve read today given the fact that the client’s now-retired CEO recently told analysts that his company was “in cost-cutting mode” to “drive operating efficiencies.” Sound familiar?

BMO will continue to work with multiple agencies including KBS+; expect future campaigns to feature less hockey and beer.

And no, that is not just an offensive cultural stereotype.