Sumita Vaid

With HSBC moving to Contract, where does ABN AMRO go?

While Contract Advertising has landed the Rs 30-crore account of HSBC in India, the question is what happens to the ABN AMRO account in Contract’s care?

Following the international realignment of the HSBC account with the WPP Group, the plum creative duties of HSBC in India have fallen in the lap of WPP Group-agency Contract Advertising. For Contract, the account - which is pegged in the vicinity of Rs 30 crore - happens to be a particularly fortuitous windfall for the simple reason that while J Walter Thompson is the international lead creative agency on HSBC, in India, JWT India handles a competing business: Standard Chartered.

While Contract has certainly benefited from its larger sibling's inability to take charge of HSBC's Indian portfolio, the question that now rises is what happens to the advertising account of ABN AMRO, which has been in the care of Contract Advertising for a considerable period of time. While no clear answers were forthcoming at this stage, informal discussions with executives at Contract revealed that internationally, WPP is in talks with ABN AMRO to arrive at an amicable solution. When contacted, ABN AMRO officials refused to comment on the development. Ramesh Sobti, CEO, ABN AMRO is currently out of the country, and we are told a decision on the next course of action would be taken once he is back.

For the record, while JWT is the lead partner for HSBC internationally, GroupM is the media buying and planning agency, and 141 Worldwide will handle direct marketing. In India, GroupM's media agency MindShare will service HSBC. Globally, besides WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic were in the fray for the HSBC account, which was with Interpublic's Lowe & Partners Worldwide (the creative agency) and the Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia (media agency). © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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