TBWA Wins Visa’s Global Creative

NEW YORK Visa today selected Omnicom Group’s TBWA to handle lead global creative duties on its brand, the client confirmed.

The other finalists were Omnicom’s BBDO in New York, WPP Group’s Grey in New York and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago, according to sources. The consolidation takes effect Jan. 1.

Final presentations took place Sept. 10-11 at Visa’s headquarters in Foster City, Calif. Burnett and Grey pitched on Sept. 10 and BBDO and TBWA on Sept. 11. Each meeting lasted about three hours.

Previously, Visa used different agencies in different regions, with, for example, TBWA handling creative duties in the U.S. and BBDO handling chores in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We’re proud to have the opportunity to work with one of the world’s greatest brands,” said Tom Carroll, president and CEO of TBWA Worldwide. “We look forward to working with Visa’s global marketing team to develop and execute vibrant campaigns that will help drive business growth and enhance Visa’s brand equity worldwide.”

All four contenders were roster shops. Grey handles Visa business in Central and Eastern Europe and Leo Burnett works on the brand in Canada.

“As Visa has evolved into a global public company, we challenged our agency partners around the world to provide a unified approach to our marketing initiatives,” said Antonio Lucio, chief marketing officer of Visa. “This decision reflects the creative strength and innovation of TBWA Worldwide as well as their ability to deliver against Visa’s unique brand vision.”

Last year, Visa spent about $525 million in major measured media worldwide, including more than $360 million in the U.S alone, according to Nielsen Global AdView and Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

At the onset of the review, Visa said its goal was to “identify creative synergies and cost efficiencies by consolidating all our activities under one partnership with a single holding company. We are confident that this process will allow us to identify a stable of first-class talent that can work collaboratively to build and execute campaigns that drive measurable business results and enhance the Visa brand worldwide.”

The review excluded Visa Europe, an independently operated association of European banks that issues Visa cards and whose lead agency is Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi.

The competition followed a lengthy review of media planning and buying duties around the world, which Omnicom’s OMD and WPP’s Mediaedge:cia won. OMD kept its U.S. and Asian duties and added Latin America and parts of Europe, while MEC retained its European business.

A few months into that process, which began in August 2007 and ended in May 2008, Visa named PepsiCo’s Antonio Lucio as its first global chief marketing officer. Lucio, who spearheaded the creative review, was appointed in November, assuming duties previously held by U.S. CMO Susanne Lyons and evp, global brand marketing John Elkins. Both Lyons and Elkins left Visa last year.

Visa became a public company on March 19, via an initial public offering.