BBDO Bounces Back

Gillette May Be Up for Grabs, But Agency Has a Knack for Wooing Marketers Back

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Prominently displayed in several BBDO offices around the world is a poster listing 10 values held near and dear at the agency -- items like "make the work better" and "be a hand-raiser, not a finger pointer."

But it's No. 9, "the ability to bounce back," that seemed evident last week when the global Visa business returned to the Omnicom Group shop on the heels of news that Gillette had begun looking elsewhere.

It was an affirmation that when you're a 120-year-old agency, resilience really matters.

The Omnicom Group agency has made an effort to win back accounts that depart, a phenomenon that ad types refer to as "boomeranging", or to quickly replace revenue from a loss with a new account win. In 2009 the shop recaptured Snickers' business after it had strayed to a sibling agency for three years. And when longtime BBDO client Bank of America shifted brand advertising to WPP earlier this year, BBDO within days replaced the lost revenue by convincing Hewlett-Packard to consolidate global ad creative with the agency.

Last week, the shop stunned the ad industry by luring back Visa, which it had lost in 2005 to sibling TBWA. For a period of 20 years the BBDO and Visa had produced some iconic advertising, including the famous "It's Everywhere You Want to Be" tagline, making Visa CMO Antonio Lucio's decision to go back home is a noteworthy one.

So what's the secret? You can chalk it up to a combination of luck and BBDO's ability to be big yet well-regarded for its creative. Plus —and this is the bit that any agency can learn from -- it's very focused on projecting a positive attitude.

As BBDO's global CEO Andrew Robertson told Ad Age earlier this year: "You don't succeed by avoiding punches. You succeed by being able to pick yourself up."

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