Updated: HSBC Confirms Global Marketing Review

Search comes 8 years after consolidation at WPP

HSBC, eight years after consolidating the bulk of its marketing business at JWT and other units of WPP Group, has launched a global review, the bank has confirmed.

The review includes both creative and media responsibilities and is expected to be completed by the end of March, an HSBC representative said. JWT and WPP are mounting a defense.

Helping to manage the process is Efficio, a London-based consultancy, which on its website describes itself as a "management consultancy focused entirely on procurement and supply chain optimisation." 

Key decision makers in the review include Chris Clark, the bank's group head of marketing. Clark, who has worked at HSBC since 2001, assumed the top marketing post in December 2010.

In calling the review, HSBC seeks to benchmark its current agency roster against against the broader marketplace, according to a source. Also, HSBC wants to ensure that agency and bank operating practices are aligned.

In the last global pitch, the WPP agencies beat teams from Interpublic Group and Omnicom Group to land the business.

Beyond JWT, the winning pitch team comprised eight other agencies, including direct marketing shop 141, corporate identity specialist Landor Associates and media players such as Maxus.

Back then, HSBC's global media spending was estimated at $600 million. The 2004 review lasted four months.