Wells Fargo Launches Creative Review

Incumbent DDB is invited to participate

Wells Fargo is looking beyond longtime creative shop DDB in a review that's being managed by Select Resources International.

The incumbent and other Omnicom Group shops have been invited to participate, according to a Wells Fargo representative. Omnicom’s BBDO, for one, is open in the banking category, having lost Bank of America in a global creative review nearly two years ago. BofA moved the account to a group of WPP companies and expanded the role of roster shop Hill Holliday. 

Both DDB and BBDO declined to comment.

Wells Fargo is in the early stages of its search, with SRI poised to distribute a request for proposals. The consultancy is familiar to the bank, having managed past reviews, including one for its social media business and another for its digital marketing.

All told, Wells spent more $130 million in media last year and nearly $70 million in the first half of 2013, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.

The current search is for the core advertising business. Not in play are traditional media media planning and buying, which remains at OMD; digital creative and media responsibilities, which are handled by MRM and UM, respectively; and multicultural marketing, which is split among Muse, DAE and Acento.

One source expects the review to continue into 2014, with an outcome sometime in the first quarter. Key decision-makers at Wells Fargo include chief marketing officer Jamie Moldafsky, an insider who assumed that job two years ago, and svp, head of integrated marketing Michael Lacorazza, who joined Wells Fargo over a year ago from TD Ameritrade.

The account, run out of DDB’s Los Angeles office, is one of the agency’s largest clients on the West Coast, alongside Clorox. The LA office employs about 30 staffers in account management, creative and production. That office, however, is overseen by San Francisco-based executives. The Wells Fargo relationship dates back to 1995 before DDB had an office in the Bay Area.

DDB has seen changes in management in the region over the past year: Last summer Mike Harris, the former chief strategy officer of twofifteenmccann assumed the new role of president DDB West. Harris, now CEO of DDB California which supplanted DDB West, hired Jason Elm as chief creative officer from Deutsch in June but he was gone by September.

Wells Fargo, which acquired Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia in 2008, has become one of the country’s largest and most successful commercial and retail banks. As of June 30th, it claimed $1.4 trillion in assets and 70 million customers.