MasterCard Briefs 12 Shops in Digital Review

NEW YORK MasterCard has briefed about a dozen agencies in a global review of its digital duties, with presentations scheduled for the first week of August, sources said.

The contenders are believed to be a mixture of roster and non-roster shops, including MRM Worldwide, a unit of Interpublic Group’s McCann Worldgroup that handles interactive duties on the brand in the U.S, Europe and parts of Latin America.

MRM declined to comment and referred calls to the Purchase, N.Y.-based client, which confirmed the review, saying that it stemmed from “best in class business discipline.” A MasterCard representative, however, declined to discuss details of the process, including the identity of the contenders and the time line.

“While we are proud of what we’ve accomplished with our agencies in this arena, MasterCard has an opportunity to evolve our global digital presence to continue to engage our stakeholders with a leading digital experience,” said Chris Monteiro, group head of worldwide communications. “Since our industry, our organization and the digital landscape have been evolving so quickly in recent years, it makes sense that we should ensure that our relationships have also evolved as necessary.”

Other agencies on MasterCard’s digital roster include MercerBell, in Australia, and XM, in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and African regions. XM is a unit of WPP Group’s RMG Connect, the customer-relationship marketing arm of JWT.

The business is splintered regionally and according to digital specialties. All told, MasterCard employs some 70 digital shops worldwide.

The review stems from an internal audit of the company’s digital providers and aims to consolidate the business at fewer shops, according to a source.

An estimate of MasterCard’s global digital spend was not available. On all forms of marketing, the company spent $1.01 billion worldwide last year, according to MasterCard’s annual report. That figure includes the cost of ads, sponsorships, promotions, interactive efforts and public relations, the report noted.

MasterCard is a major client of McCann Worldgroup, with McCann Erickson handling ad duties in most markets including the U.S., and Universal McCann responsible for media duties abroad. The client’s U.S. media duties are at Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas. Those parts of the business are not in play, however.