Before Visa Shift, BBDO Pitched In on Olympics Work

Global creative was at TBWA

Visa is moving its global creative business back to BBDO after its digital agency helped craft its Olympics work this year. The Omnicom agency lost lead worldwide status on the business in 2008 after a review in which corporate sibling TBWA prevailed. TBWA earlier replaced BBDO as Visa's U.S. agency in 2006.

BBDO's digital agency, Atmosphere Proximity, N.Y., created this summer’s high-profile social Olympics campaign “Global Cheer” for the credit card company. BBDO has maintained other ties to the marketer: Last year AlmapBBDO, São Paulo, was given Visa’s business in Brazil. In the run-up to the Summer Games, Visa briefed Almap about doing some TV concepts and BBDO in New York assisted in that effort, with three spots produced by the two agencies. BBDO's Proximity has also been handling digital assignments for Visa in the U.S. and abroad. The global creative shift back to BBDO came without a review.

Last year, before the Olympics, Visa spent $122.5 million in U.S. measured media, according to Nielsen. That amount does not include marketing on the Internet.

In an internal email, BBDO Worldwide chief Andrew Robertson said: “The decision was made in the context of Visa’s ongoing partnership with Omnicom and its desire to deliver seamless communication across all channels in all markets. It is Visa’s intent to build on the global success of its campaign, 'More People Go With Visa,' and we are being brought in to help support the growth of the brand, and especially electronic payments, worldwide.”

Robertson noted that TBWA continues to work on Visa in some international markets and will work closely with BBDO and other Visa agencies which include Omnicom siblings OMD, Organic and Proximity.

"For many years we have consulted with a wide variety of agency partners and have been fortunate to partner with Omnicom to drive integrated campaigns throughout our business and around the world.  We have and continue to receive great support from BBDO and TBWA among others, and our decision to designate BBDO as lead creative agency reflects our desire to deliver seamless communication across all channels in all markets,” a Visa spokesperson said in a statement. 

For BBDO, the Visa news comes in a week where the shop's Gillette client said it was reaching out to other agencies for ideas in North America, a review in which BBDO and Proximity will defend the business. It's not the first time this year that BBDO has demonstrated resiliancy in the face of client challenges: In May, after the agency lost Bank of America, it expanded its relationship with HP by winning work for the company's personal computing division.