BBDO Wins Big Pitch for Wells Fargo

Bank shifts its creative account after 18+ years with DDB

Wells Fargo has found a new lead creative agency.

After more than 18 years with DDB, the bank has hired BBDO in San Francisco to lead its creative business, Wells Fargo confirmed. Account revenue is estimated at $10-12 million.

"BBDO is a great fit for where we want to take the brand next," said Michael Lacorazza, svp of integrated marketing at the bank. "We aspire for Wells Fargo to be not just a strong brand in the banking category, but to be a brand that people love and respect around the world beyond our category. And it's not an easy challenge, especially considering the space that the banking brands play in these days (after the financial crisis)."

Given the bank's goal of distinguishing itself more broadly, BBDO's experience with brands like AT&T and Starbucks was as relevant as its past work for former client Bank of America. In particular, Lacorazza was impressed with the shop's ability to distinguish AT&T in a parity category and to understand Starbucks from a "big, 40,000-foot strategic brand level all the way down to, well, how are we going to drive sales?"

Wells Fargo, which is based in San Francisco, spends about $130 million in media annually, according to Nielsen.

The creative search began in October. Wells Fargo marketing executives—including Lacorazza and chief marketing officer Jamie Moldafsky—subsequently met with a half dozen shops months before narrowing the field to four. The others finalists were TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., Mullen in San Francisco and JWT in New York.

The contenders got two assignments, according to Lacorazza. One assignment revolved around how to evolve the bank's current "Conversation" campaign and the other sought ideas on where to take the brand if starting from scratch. Beyond strategic thoughts and creative ideas, bank executives wanted to see how the agencies worked, albeit in a compressed period of about 30 days, Lacorazza explained.

Final presentations took place early last month at Wells Fargo.

Media responsibilities were not in play and remain at OMD (traditional) and UM (digital). Other Wells Fargo shops include MRM (digital marketing) and multicultural players Muse, DAE and Acento. Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., managed the search.

Publish date: March 12, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT