When it rains it pours and it's certainly pouring in bankland at the moment because one of the most talked about agency bank relationships in the country has officially come to an end after ASB appointed Saatchi & Saatchi, effective 1 July 2012.
Roger Beaumont, ASB’s executive general manager, marketing and online confirmed the bank had opted for a change of direction with a new agency after two years with incumbent Droga5.
“ASB has grown significantly in terms of market share and size and we are very excited to be entering a new direction in the evolution of our brand," he says. "We feel that Saatchi & Saatchi strongly delivers the right mix of scale, creativity, strategic insights and leadership that will help us achieve our ambitious goals.”
"ASB is an incredibly strong and innovative brand," says Nicky Bell, chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand. "We can’t wait to get started with their team. And this is a tremendous validation for the whole team who have worked hard over the last couple of years to get us back to the true spirit of the Saatchi & Saatchi brand.”
Interestingly, ASB will once again be working with Guy Roberts and Corey Chalmers, who moved to Droga5 after TBWA\ lost the account and recently became creative directors at Saatchi & Saatchi, the old stomping ground of Andrew Stone, Droga5’s business director.
Stone said: “We have loved our relationship with ASB. We’re proud of what we have done together and they’ve given us a great start in this market. We recognise the changes at ASB and wish them well.”
After a rocky start with the Creating Futures campaign, things had picked up recently (possibly due to the steadying marketing hand of chief executive Barbara Chapman) and Beaumont said the current campaign 'Experience ASB' was a particular highlight.
This obviously rules Saatchi & Saatchi out of the Westpac race, which it was thought to have put its hand up for.
UPDATE: ASB's corporate comms manager Christian May says the bank is sticking with the press release and isn't making any other statements. He would neither confirm nor deny whether there was a pitch or whether the business was handed over.
Saatchi's Nicky Bell said she may be able to talk about it more in a few weeks, but, like ASB, had nothing further to add from what was in the release at this stage.
Also, we couldn't help but notice that just after the release was sent out, the ASB website was down. An ominous sign, perhaps?