CommBank appoints M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi has been awarded the $100m advertising account for Commonwealth Bank, Mumbrella can reveal.

The appointment follows a dramatic final round of pitching with incumbent San Francisco-based agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which won the brand account in April 2007.

The decision is welcome news for M&C, which has been on the receiving end of a number of painful reviews – Woolworths, Optus and CommBank’s rival ANZ – over the past 12 months.

For Goodby, the decision will hamper the highly regarded agency’s plans to establish a permanent presence in Australia.

However co-chairman Jeff Goodby told, Mumbrella: “We’d love to stay. We want to hear from another Australian client.

“I’ve loved working in the country, we’ve loved working there. We had a wonderful time and we’d love to carry on with another client – it’s not about the money. I’ve loved my experience and I plan and hope to continue doing so. I just need a piece of business to continue doing so.”

CMO Andy Lark told Mumbrella that CommBank’s relationship with BMF, which handles the directing marketing and transactional business, will continue until the end of the financial year. The bank has not yet clarified what will happen beyond that point.

He added that he was “seriously impressed” with the pitching work of DDB, and would be looking to add “one or more” of the agencies that pitched to his roster in the new financial year.

“M&C Saatchi did an amazing job [in the pitch] and were worthy winners,” he said.

CommBank’s upcoming branding campaign will be produced by M&C.

The review, which was handled by TrinityP3, does not effect CommBank’s relationship with its media agency Ikon.


In December,  Lark hinted that he wanted to work with an agency with a “strong Australian presence”, although who would win this pitch has been hard to call.

The outspoken former Dell marketer replaced Mark Buckman as CMO in July last year.

Goodby said of senior executive Barbara Chapman and Mark Buckman, who now leads Telstra’s marketing: “I love Mark and Barbara. It was an experience I’ve never had before. We had a wonderful time.”

Asked about the work, Goodby said: “They’re a classy organisation and I feel we gave them classy advertising.”

He pointed to the ad created to mark the bank’s centenary as a recent piece he was proud of.

Goodby added: “We’re also very proud of their $3.5bn profit announcement.”

In a statement, Lark said:

Throughout the process we saw outstanding strategic and creative thinking, delivered by what is clearly world-class talent, making this an extraordinarily tough decision. We are excited about working with Australian company, M&C Saatchi, as our new lead agency, subject to final contract negotiation, on what will be one of the major brand campaigns of 2012 and beyond.

I want to thank the teams at both Goodby and DDB for the outstanding thinking they brought to the table, their professionalism and passion for Australia’s leading Bank brand.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners won the Commonwealth Bank business over four years ago and have lead the Bank’s core creative work during a time in which Commonwealth Bank ascended to the #1 banking brand in Australia. Jeff and the team had established themselves as friends and valued partners to the Bank. Their impact will be felt well into the future.

We will continue to refine our agency roster, possibly adding one or more of the agencies we worked with through the process for direct, product and segment-level work.


  1. fleshpeddler
    17 Feb 12
    10:41 am

  2. hmmm, ex Dell marketer known for off shoring agency work to Bangalore changes from two of the best agencies in the world to a retail agency (edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons)

    my guess is that he’ll get the advertising he deserves

  3. ivan ardon
    17 Feb 12
    10:42 am

  4. finally some good news for the local adland job market.

  5. Tim
    17 Feb 12
    10:44 am

  6. well done M&C!

  7. Saz
    17 Feb 12
    10:45 am

  8. Awesome work M&C.

    Backs against the wall and you come out fighting.


  9. Great news
    17 Feb 12
    10:46 am

  10. almost great news for all. it is a big hit to BMF.

  11. Nicky
    17 Feb 12
    10:58 am

  12. I’m actually very sorry to see this – I have done some work with the Goodby guys (several of whom are Aussie) and they had some really great ideas that went far beyond the usual standard stuff. It went down fantastically in research too. Best of luck M&C, will be interested to see what you come up with.

  13. Jeepers
    17 Feb 12
    10:59 am

  14. Goodby did a good job.

  15. Bravo
    17 Feb 12
    11:05 am

  16. GRATS M&C!!!!

  17. GG
    17 Feb 12
    11:08 am

  18. Let me get this straight: Less than 12 months after M&C Saatchi gets booted off ANZ, after 16 years of award-winning work, they snag the biggest of the Big Four. Not a bad response.

  19. CA
    17 Feb 12
    11:09 am

  20. The TVC at the end of the story is really good! Goodby does good work! Thought it was by BMF before, evidently not.

  21. rob
    17 Feb 12
    11:17 am

  22. I think GS&P is a great agency but it’s a little smug to say how proud they are of the bank’s $3.5b profit…….i daresay the advertising of the bank lives in a parallel universe to the customers, and the profit is more a factor of gouging cartel-style among the big 4 which is facilitated by customer inertia to move and a lack of effective competition policy in that industry.

    The true measure of bank advertising isn’t profits of the bank, but reversing the negative perception of them as an institution. NAB tried to do this with the Break-Up campaign, but for mine failed in the reality of delivering a better experience.

    Until the actual behaviours of the banks, or their falsely empathetic communications, are changed then all this shuffling of accounts and changing of comms strategy will be is an exercise in puffery.

    But well done M&C in getting this business back for the local industry……i look forward to something truly different, not just the hollow sentiment.

  23. Class act
    17 Feb 12
    11:19 am

  24. What great comments from Goodby. I worked with the teams from GSP and they were always utter professionals. I hope some smart CMO picks up on the subtle hint that they’d open an office here in a heartbeat.

  25. Kenkichi
    17 Feb 12
    11:20 am

  26. Excellent win M&C! Well deserved!

  27. Class act
    17 Feb 12
    11:21 am

  28. And congratulations to M&C Saatchi.

    Well played Team Tom!

  29. Impressed
    17 Feb 12
    11:22 am

  30. Incredible news for M&C. Bravo to a job well done.

  31. Congrats
    17 Feb 12
    11:23 am

  32. This would’ve been a tough pitch and it’s gone to a great agency.

  33. Nicky
    17 Feb 12
    11:26 am

  34. Yes, I agree Class act – they are lovely people to deal with. Would be good to see them have a presence here.
    Rob, yes absolutely, whats needed is a shift in behaviour rather than just a comms exercise – this is exactly what GSP were trying to encourage and it would have been great to see, but probably needs a more ground-breaking client.
    fleshpeddler, love your work!

  35. Yana
    17 Feb 12
    11:30 am

  36. M&C is on a roll. Congratulations. Epic win!

  37. Tofleshpeddler
    17 Feb 12
    11:33 am

  38. Mr Fleshpeddler.

    Firstly. Fuck off.

    Secondly. Fuck off.

    Thirdly. Your comments are actually completely false and possibly libelous. I’d be a little careful.

  39. Terry
    17 Feb 12
    11:47 am

  40. Hmm – wonder what ANZ think?

  41. Dani
    17 Feb 12
    11:48 am

  42. Thrilled for M&C! What a win!!

  43. Meagan McDonald
    17 Feb 12
    11:51 am

  44. Good work M&C

  45. Elijah
    17 Feb 12
    11:54 am

  46. Bloody exciting news, M&C. Love your work.

  47. Sam
    17 Feb 12
    11:55 am

  48. Wow, that’s massive. Always liked the work M&C did with ANZ – Kevin the ATM, Barbara from Bankworld, it was fresh and funny. Looking forward to seeing what they do with CommBank.

  49. rebecca
    17 Feb 12
    11:56 am

  50. fantastic work M&C!

  51. Gav
    17 Feb 12
    12:03 pm

  52. Well done M&C. What an outstanding effort.

  53. Woohoo!
    17 Feb 12
    12:23 pm

  54. M&C, bloody legends! Love your work and you’re all class.

  55. Bank it!
    17 Feb 12
    12:24 pm

  56. Couldn’t go to a better place. Well done CBA – you chose the right guys.

  57. AndrewM
    17 Feb 12
    12:26 pm

  58. You don’t get this far without a hell of a lot of talent. Great news.

  59. JB
    17 Feb 12
    12:53 pm

  60. Big Brands need big agencies. Its that simple. Congrats M&C.

  61. cynical
    17 Feb 12
    1:05 pm

  62. hey Tim do we need to take a look at the IP addresses of the gushing commenters or just leave them to enjoy their great news and the day?

  63. mumbrella
    17 Feb 12
    1:18 pm

  64. Hi Cynical,

    At first glance, I’m not seeing much coming from the same IP address.

    However, I am receiving an unusually large proportion of comments left from smart phones on this particular thread, which tends to be a lot harder to keep track of. Just coincidence though, I’m sure.

    I’m certain that the gushing comments you refer to above merely reflect the high esteem M&C is held in across the whole industry. Based on these comments, I’d argue it may even be the Australia’s most beloved creative agency.

    Or possibly the world’s.

    Nothing more to it than that.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  65. Scott
    17 Feb 12
    1:20 pm

  66. Be afraid of this mob in a pitch. Very afraid.

  67. DaveReporter
    17 Feb 12
    1:21 pm

  68. $100M on advertising!!! Nice to know my mortgage payments are being put to good use.

    Congrats to M&C but it kind of makes me squirm thinking about all of the little guys paying off their mortgages, credit card bills, fees etc. so that CBA can splash down that amount of cash to tell us how much they care about us. At least they don’t claim to live in my world 😉

  69. The Freelancer
    17 Feb 12
    1:42 pm

  70. Congratulations to the hardest working in Australia – I know I freelanced there. They’re maniacs.

  71. Groucho
    17 Feb 12
    1:48 pm

  72. Who is taking the bets on Telstra moving now?

  73. Buster
    17 Feb 12
    1:56 pm

  74. That’s a damn fine result for both M&C Saatchi and CommBank. M&C kicked some serious goals when they had the ANZ account. Could we see Barbara at CommBank? Is gonna be interesting.

  75. InMedia
    17 Feb 12
    2:27 pm

  76. Having worked with the GSP guys, they were amazing on the CBA account, and are true professionals! Job well done. Sorry to see they have lost the account. Congrats to Saatchis on the win. Lets see what they come up with. I concur – here’s to a GSP office in Australia!

  77. I AM from M&C
    17 Feb 12
    2:29 pm

  78. Just want to add a little note about Goodbys and DDB.

    This was a tough pitch for all of us.

    It involved Christmas work, weekends, nights.

    As they say in Oscar speeches, to win is one thing, but to win against such great creative agencies has been a privilege.

    You were, and are formidable opponents.


  79. Wayne Wood
    17 Feb 12
    3:52 pm

  80. to DaveReporter, don’t forget who created “We live in your world” M&C. It rates up there with the top 3 worst bank lines

  81. Simon
    17 Feb 12
    8:47 pm

  82. As opposed to a ‘bank you can bank on?’

  83. N
    18 Feb 12
    12:53 am

  84. @ InMedia . Saatchis is a different agency to M&C Saatchi.

  85. Anonymous
    23 Feb 12
    7:29 pm

  86. Groucho. Interesting thought. Telstra hasn’t come up with a brand campaign yet. To date its all been retail. Maybe Goodby could cover that base. It would be wonderful to see them have a presence in OZ.