We Hear: BBDO Will Try to Repair Wells Fargo’s Reputation in Wake of Account Fraud Scandal

By Patrick Coffee 

In case you missed it, banking brand Wells Fargo has taken something of a beating in the arena of public opinion due to a scandal involving millions of fake savings and checking accounts created by employees in response to alleged performance pressures.

Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve also punished the company by effectively restricting its ability to grow until it makes changes to its board of directors.

And just this week, Senator Elizabeth Warren chided the company’s relatively new CEO Tim Sloan for admitting that the company had “charged nearly 600,000 customers for auto insurance they didn’t need,” “improperly charged 110,000 customers fees to extend their mortgage rate locks,” and “bungled its reimbursements to the auto loan and mortgage rate lock customers.”


This was all after the fake account issue had seemingly been resolved.

Now, we hear the company is turning to a familiar party for help: its ad agency of record, BBDO San Francisco.

According to our sources, the shop plans to launch a new campaign with “a multi-million dollar budget” that is specifically designed to improve the bank’s reputation after more than a years’ worth of bad headlines.

Since winning the account in early 2014 (it had been with DDB for nearly 20 years), BBDO has indeed produced some surprising efforts. Its first campaign, for example, starred a real-life lesbian couple learning sign language before a touching last-minute reveal about their plans to adopt a deaf girl, also played by a real-life deaf girl.

Regarding this post, a BBDO spokesperson referred us back to the client for comment. Wells Fargo representatives wrote, “We typically launch a new brand campaign every year in the Spring. Currently, we are working through the details of our 2018 plans.”

So it’s unclear exactly how the agency will attempt to address the issues that its client has faced over the past year-plus. How would you do it?