TBWA Wins Visa's $600 Million Global Account

Shop Prevails in Holding-Company Review

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Visa today said it has awarded global creative and strategic marketing duties on its $600 million account to Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide, following a holding-company pitch for the business.

TBWA, whose Playa del Rey, Calif., office is currently Visa's lead U.S. creative agency, prevailed against roster shops on the account: sibling BBDO Worldwide, which previously had the business for years; WPP Group's Grey Worldwide, which handles work in Europe; and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide, which does work in Canada.

TBWA will be backed by additional holding-company resources in areas such as digital, direct and promotions when the agency consolidation takes effect Jan. 1, 2009.

Antonio Lucio, Visa' global chief marketing officer, said in a statement: "As Visa has evolved into a global public company, we challenged our agency partners around the world to provide a unified approach to our marketing initiatives. This decision reflects the creative strength and innovation of TBWA Worldwide as well as their ability to deliver against Visa's unique brand vision."

"We look forward to working with Visa's global marketing team to develop and execute vibrant campaigns that will help drive business growth and enhance Visa's brand equity worldwide," Tom Carroll, president-CEO of TBWA Worldwide, said in a statement.

The decision means that the bulk of Visa's massive marketing account is now parked at Omnicom. Earlier this year, the San Francisco-based marketer wrapped a review of its media services, keeping the U.S. portion of the business with Omnicom's OMD. The agency also retained media chores in Asia-Pacific, China and India and added on some non-European assignments in the review, while WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia retained the account in the European Union.

Among the tasks ahead for TBWA are creating a unified message for the Visa brand across all global markets, and bolstering that message in the face of stronger marketing in recent years from rivals MasterCard and American Express.
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