OMD Wins Big in Visa Media Pitch

NEW YORK Omnicom Group’s OMD has retained U.S., Asia-Pacific, Chinese and Indian media duties on Visa—and added significant new business from the client overseas—though Visa’s Western European chores remain in play between OMD and WPP Group’s Mediaedge:cia, according to sources.

MEC has handled the client’s European media and sponsorship assignments. (Publicis’ Starcom has worked for Visa in Canada and most Latin American markets.)

Visa’s annual global media spend is estimated at $650 million. Visa spent $440 million in 2006 U.S. measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. U.S. Ad spending was $300 million in the first 10 months of last year, per Nielsen.

Eliminated in the semifinal round of the review late last year were Aegis Media and Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group. SMG was an incumbent; Aegis was a non-roster contender.

In August, when Visa confirmed the review, it said the process was designed to consolidate global media planning and buying chores at a single shop or holding company. According to one source familiar with the status of the review, “It’s down to the numbers,” meaning the financial terms under which the contenders would be willing to service the business.

The agencies declined comment or referred queries about the review’s status to the client, where representatives offered no immediate comment.

The client hired EMM Group, a marketing management firm in London, to help guide the review.

John Elkins, Visa’s evp, global brand marketing, had initially overseen the process. But he left the company last month and Visa subsequently appointed Antonio Lucio as global CMO. He assumed the duties of both Elkins and previously departed U.S. CMO Susanne Lyons.

This story updates an earlier item with the news that OMD has added work from Visa in overseas markets.