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.



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