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(Aug. 17, 2001) HONG KONG -- HSBC has awarded two assignments in Brunei, a small but wealthy kingdom, to Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned agencies.

DraftWorldwide has won the strategic, direct and relationship marketing and database management for the banking giant's personal banking and credit card products, following a pitch against the incumbent 141, the marketing services unit of Cordiant Communications Group's Bates Advertising.

Interpublic shop Lowe Lintas already handled HSBC's above-the-line advertising business for HSBC in Brunei, but the agency has transferred the business from its Singapore office to Malaysia, "which makes more sense," explained Ronald Yue, CEO Lowe Lintas & Partners Asia/Pacific in Hong Kong.

Media planning and buying remains with Zenith Media, which is jointly owned by Publicis Groupe and Cordiant. Billings were not disclosed.

The realignment of the Lowe account and appointment of Draft follow HSBC's appointment of both Interpublic agencies in January 2001 in Malaysia, the Southeast Asian nation which borders Brunei. Lowe Lintas and Draft also work with HSBC in other markets including Hong Kong, the bank's global headquarters.

Lowe Lintas was appointed by HSBC in 1999 as the bank's first-ever global brand agency-of-record. "They are now paying more attention to global branding. They used to be known by different names around the world, the need [for a global brand agency] arose when they introduced a uniform HSBC name change in 1999," explained Mr. Yue, such as re-branding subsidiary Midland Bank in the U.K. to HSBC.

Appointments for personal banking products such as premier banking, asset management are made on a country-by-country basis, however. In an effort to streamline its advertising, adds Mr. Yue, local marketing managers are encouraged to choose between Lowe Lintas and Bates Advertising, which has worked with HSBC for several decades. -- Normandy Madden

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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