CommBank CMO: Australia’s favourite bank should be working with Australia’s favourite agencies

CommBank’s CMO Andy Lark has hinted that the creative review announced yesterday will mean the end of its relationship with San Francisco agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Lark, who replaced Mark Buckman as head of marketing in July, said that one of the bank’s key requirements in a lead ad agency was a “strong Australian presence” – which Goodby has yet to build.

The former Dell marketer said: “Goodby has done an amazing job from afar, and has shown that it is committed to expanding that presence in Australia. But there are good agencies here that we’re going to take a hard look at.”

“Australia’s favourite bank should be working with Australia’s favourite agencies,” he said.

Goodby’s most recent campaign for CommBank marked the company’s century.

Lark added that he was going into the review with an open mind, and did not rule out re-hiring Goodby, or fellow incumbent BMF.

“We’re the eighth largest bank in the world by market capitalisation. We owe it to our shareholders and customers to be global in how we look at creative and new thinking.”

“But we’re wide open to ideas. If an agency has great ideas for us, or new ways of working with us, we’re here to talk,” he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of change in the Australian agency environment. There are players we couldn’t have worked with four years ago that have evolved their capabilities.”

“What we’re looking for in a brand and strategy agency is a player that can combine innovative thinking with scale, and embrace digital and social marketing.”

Goodby Silverstein & Partners has handled CommBank’s TV and high-end brand work, while BMF works on direct response and transactional campaigns.

The bank’s digital and media agency relationships – with The White Agency and Ikon, respectively – are unaffected by the review.


  1. Alison_F
    3 Nov 11
    3:07 pm

  2. I think its definitely high time the CBA starts looking to local agencies!

  3. Just saying.....
    3 Nov 11
    4:00 pm

  4. world class brands should work with world class companies, no matter where they are. hopefully they’re here. 8th largest bank in the world makes it world class

  5. Colin Wilson-Brown
    3 Nov 11
    4:03 pm

  6. I like Andy’s thinking. His difficulty will be that the best Australian agencies (apart from BMF) have client conflicts. They will not want to be seen pitching as they could lose an existing client without cetainty of success. The pitch will have to be managed behind closed doors.

  7. Alison_F
    3 Nov 11
    4:23 pm

  8. @CWB… That’s a very good point! Confidentiality will be important.

  9. Anonymous
    3 Nov 11
    4:45 pm

  10. @CWB – how have you defined your competitive agency set? Sounds like you’re potentially saying the best Aust agencies are: BMF, Clemenger, Whybins & Big Red. Interesting statement from a consultant.

  11. Serge
    3 Nov 11
    4:53 pm

  12. “Australia’s favourite bank should be working with Australia’s favourite agencies,”

    while the jingoistic one liner might sound catchy there is no inherent logic to the statement.

    I hope more intellectual rigour is applied elsewhere in Mr Lark’s role!

  13. Non Creative
    3 Nov 11
    4:59 pm

  14. @CWB – you are effectively saying that agencies should lie to their clients. Amazing coming from a pitch consultant.

  15. Colin Wilson-Brown
    3 Nov 11
    5:12 pm

  16. ‘Anonymous’ has a very narrow view of conflict. There are many agencies beyond those you mention who have clients who would regard CommBank as a conflict and probably vice versa:- Host, The Monkeys, Publicis, Y&R, BWM, Lavender, The Works, JWT, Ogilvy…..

  17. Ricki
    3 Nov 11
    5:14 pm

  18. Yep, it’s time for a change.

    Goodby certainly did some interesting work at the beginning of their tenure…interesting in that it provoked a lot of discussion and certainly it was a strong departure from what the other banks were up to. Personally I think the Centenary work is mawkish and poorly produced. The voiceover leaves me cold and the script is worse with the odd ‘ghost of CBA’ hanging around and giving me the creeps! I’m guessing but it looks like it might have once been a big idea but it’s had too many hands on it….probably from the client side (“…add in Don Bradman…what about Australia 2!”). Just my opinion but it feels like an indulgent and ineffective use of a 60″ TVC.

    And as much as I love Tiriel Mora as an actor, his voiceover work on the CBA ads has him sounding sinister for some reason (he’s funny so why don’t they let him be funny?). The TVC of two ‘Mosman type’ ladies fighting over a vase has to be one of the most out of touch ads about banking in recent memory.

    Definitely time to move on. If CBA move forward with their intentions to be the leaders in digital marketing, this could get very interesting as it opens up the field to a number of new starters.

  19. Colin Wilson-Brown
    3 Nov 11
    5:28 pm

  20. I don’t condone lies under any circumstances. Pursuing a client when an agency has a potential conflict is about ethics, loyalties and commercial responsibilities. I don’t presume to make hypothetical judgements.

  21. Sue
    3 Nov 11
    10:46 pm

  22. @ #7 Non-creative

    all agencies lie to their clients – and most of them rip them off as well,

    (funny how the studio manages to use the exact number of hours in the estimate….)

  23. J.Mcrath
    3 Nov 11
    11:35 pm

  24. Word on the street is that that Clems is breaking up’ with it’s current financial services client and is on the look-out for a new romance…

  25. P
    4 Nov 11
    1:09 am

  26. About time an Australian agency got the account. It’s absolutely crazy to go to the US for talent when you have so much of it sitting on your doorstep!

    Most of Commbank’s ads have been hit and miss anyway, particularly their signature work – determined to be different-

    The comments on YouTube say it all:
    It’s hard to decide who is worse… Michael Bay or CBA marketing wankers…

  27. Rushdie
    4 Nov 11
    11:56 am

  28. Never heard anyone in the real world say…my favourite bank. Don’t even think about it Andy.

  29. Heath
    4 Nov 11
    4:48 pm

  30. Dear ComBank,
    Property Guide iphone app = winner!
    Centenary TVC = waste of money
    That is all.