J. Walter Thompson Is the Lead Agency

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP Group has won HSBC Holdings' consolidated global marketing services review, according to J. Walter Thompson, one of the agencies on WPP's team.
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The London-based financial services giant had heard pitches from agency holding company teams over the past three months (the review was launched in January). In addition to JWT, WPP's team was comprised of Red Cell in Europe and Bates in Asia for creative; Group M for media buying and 141 Worldwide for direct marketing; and Landor for corporate identity.

$200 million denied
The original version of this story reported that the global work was worth about $200 million. However, a company spokeswoman later denied that figure and suggested the actual value could be significantly higher. However, she declined to provide any further details or estimates.

Lead agency
JWT will be the lead agency on the account, according to a statement issued by HSBC today. Toby Hoare, a former Bates Worldwide executive who moved to WPP after the holding company purchased Bates' parent Cordiant Communications, will manage the account.

When HSBC launched the competition, Peter Stringham, HSBC's group general manager for marketing, said the goal was to "consolidate all activity within one holding company" to minimize the number of agencies on its roster, gain cost-efficiencies and apply consistent brand messages across all marketing disciplines. Four agency holding companies -- Interpublic Group of Cos., Publicis Groupe, Omnicom Group and WPP -- were invited to compete.

Incumbent Lowe
Lowe & Partners Worldwide, part of Interpublic, was the creative incumbent. Lowe partnered with Initiative Media, MRM and Plus Consultancy Group to try to retain the account.

Omnicom Group fielded a team that included AMV BBDO Worldwide, Proximity, and media agencies OMD and PHD.

Publicis Groupe, whose Zenith Optimedia had been the media agency incumbent, had been cut from the review.

For Lowe, creator of HSBC's current campaign, which carries the theme "World's local bank," the decision is a significant loss for the shop. David Bell, Interpublic's CEO, recently acknowledged that Lowe is "going through a difficult patch," in part because of its failure to attract new business. He said improvements would take time but that Lowe had shown more willingness to partner with other Interpublic agencies and that it would increasingly foucs on its "heritage as an agency built on a creative foundation."

Global review
Meanwhile, the same four holding companies are participating in another global marketing review, for Samsung's $700 million account. Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding and Initiative Media are currently Samsung's global agencies, and is participating in the review. The Korean electronics marketer will begin making country and regional visits later this month and final presentations are expected at the end of June in Korea, according to knowledgeable executives.

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