Updated: Visa picks Starcom to run global media account

GLOBAL - Visa has awarded Starcom Mediavest Group its $200 million global media account following a competitive pitch.

OMD had held the account for seven years
OMD had held the account for seven years

The financial services giant held a global pitch earlier this year, with Publicis Groupe's Starcom winning against Omnicom's OMD, the incumbent on the business for seven years.

Its account is worth an estimated $200 million (£127 million), with just over half of that media spend in the US.

It should be noted that Visa Europe operates as a separate business with its own stable of agencies and was not part of this review or assignment. MEC will continue to hold this part of the Visa account. 

Starcom's win therefore includes the US, Latin Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe. 

This account move is a blow for Omnicom because, despite Visa's relatively small global spend with the agency of less than US$500 million, it was a critcial Omnicom aligned assignment with creative, digital and PR within the holding group, commented Greg Paull, principal, R3. "Visa’s spending is usually themed around big events (Olympics, World Cup) so 2016 should be a big year for them."

In Asia, Visa is a big spender in Japan and Australia, continued Paull. "China has always been a challenge with the strength of Unionpay."
 
Along with Visa, the Omnicom group is also defending its key accounts Unilever, J&J, Mondelez and Coty representing an estimated 1.6 per cent of the group's revenue and as much as 88 per cent of its group's agency fees (assuming a 3 per cent fee), shared R3 based on figures from Jefferies Equity. 
 
A Visa spokesman said: "As part of our regular business practice, Visa consistently evaluates how we do business and, as such, conducted a global media agency review to ensure we have the right mix of support to meet our brand and marketing goals.
 
"We just concluded our review and have awarded Starcom the position of global media agency supported by Social Code for digital in North America."

Last week Campaign revealed that Visa Europe had launched a global search for a creative agency ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, for which the company is sponsoring.

Starcom appears to be on a bit of a winning streak. In July, the group picked up the global account for Etihad Airways Partners

Starcom Mediavest Group did not return a request to comment.

This story first ran on Campaign UK but has been updated by Campaign Asia with additional comments from R3

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