VISA USA DROPS AD AGENCY BBDO

Moves $340 Million Account to TBWA

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After a competition among three Omnicom Group shops, Visa USA today parted with its agency of 20 years, BBDO, and named TBWA/Chiat/Day agency of record for its $340 million advertising account.

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In addition to BBDO, the other agency in the pitch was Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. Goodby this fall resigned the $80 million Discover Card account in anticipation of the pitch.

A number of elements contributed to Visa’s decision to move the business. BBDO earlier this year won the $600 million Bank of America account, owner of another credit-card company MBNA. At the same time, Visa has overhauled its management, bringing in a number of executives from Charles Schwab, including new CEO John Philip Coghlan and Susanne Lyons, Visa USA’s chief marketing officer.

Although the Visa brand has strong brand recognition worldwide, it is facing a number of challenges in the U.S. with an increasingly aggressive marketing from both MasterCard and American Express. Merchants, meanwhile, including Wal-Mart Stores, are pushing for lower credit-card fees.

There are more than 1 billion Visa credit and debit cards in circulation. Its market share by processing volume is 51.1%, according to the Nielsen Report.

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