The tongues have been wagging fairly violently in agency land about the possibility of ANZ shifting agencies. And the speculation has now been confirmed, after Whybin TBWA was officially appointed as its global creative agency after a four month pitch. "I've got your headline: 'Sir, I've found a better bank'," laughs TBWA\'s Dave Walden, who, after plenty of financial wheel greasing since Goldstein walked off into the sunset last year, finally has his bank.
Walden says the account will be run out of two hubs, Melbourne and Auckland, and while he was unsure as to the handover date, he thought it was 1 June.
The ANZ statement did say that DDB will continue to work on ANZ's Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealand, however.
"I haven't got clarity on that," he says.
No-one from DDB was able to be contacted.
Walden says the Auckland office was heavily involved in the pitch, particularly executive creative director Andy Blood, and there have been a few "very interesting meetings" over the past few months. But he's just stoked to be back on the horse, nabbing a big bank and getting to do some more great work in a sector he loves.
"I am the bank whisperer. But the whisper has turned into a roar today," he says. "...It's been a while between drinks but I'm just glad it happened on St Patrick's Day, because it gives me another excuse to have a drink."
It's certainly a massive win for TBWA\ after the annus horribilis that was 2010 and, after the success of ASB's Goldstein campaign over the years and the stellar work on 2degrees (we'll look past the recent work on Freeview), most would say it's well-deserved.
Despite claiming there would be no blood on the floor following the loss of ASB, there have been a number of departures from the agency since then. Walden says they were able to redeploy the core team into the 2degrees account as that grew, so he says there's still a lot of banking expertise under the roof. And while he says they won't be going out and hiring hundreds of staff, a few new faces will presumably be required to take care of an account he thinks is bigger than ASB.
Walden wouldn't be drawn when asked about rumours that the National Bank was soon to be folded into ANZ and whether that was part of the brief for the agency.
"You'll have to ask them. I really don't know," he says.
There's plenty of evidence to suggest that's happening right now, with National Bank sponsorships being pulled on Country Calendar and Fielddays and marketing spend stopped with TVNZ, so if that is the case TBWA\ will certainly be busy trying to get New Zealanders to start liking the largely unliked ANZ brand. And it will leave two of the country's best agencies, DDB and DraftFCB without a bank. What a difference a few days can make.
Update: Justin Mowday, DDB's managing director, got back to us last night. As you'd expect for such a big account, the agency is "seriously disappointed" to have lost it. His lips remained sealed, of course, but he sent through this statement from Sandy Moore, fresh from his victory as CEO of the year at the Fairfax Admedia awards: "We’re really proud of the work we’ve done over the last 18 months for ANZ and still have a number of projects to complete over the coming months which are equally as exciting. Naturally we’re disappointed about the decision, but sometimes these decisions occur overseas which in turn affect us here. We wish ANZ the very best of course.”
The local ANZ gang haven't been able to be contacted, but word on the street is that they're not particularly happy about the forced agency change either and were very happy with the work that had been done by DDB. Certainly, the 'in a perfect world' TV work was fairly brave and the fact that DDB managed to convince a large bank to be honest(ish) was a reasonable achievement. But fair play to TBWA. It obviously played a blinder and TBWA Auckland certainly needed the business.
Other words heard on the street are that a big announcement will be made on 6.10am on Monday (National Bank to the knacker yard, perhaps?). And a new ANZ ad for the Rugby World Cup created by DDB is set to go to air the night before.
The ANZ statement:
ANZ today announced it would accelerate the development of its global brand and establish a new direction in its approach to advertising with the appointment of Whybin TBWA, part of the global TBWA Group, as its new global creative agency.
Whybin TBWA has been appointed after a four month competitive review and will be responsible for developing and executing ANZ’s global advertising creative from hubs in Melbourne and Auckland, and from the Whybin hub in Asia.
ANZ group managing director strategy, M&A, marketing and innovation, Joyce Phillips said: “Whybin TBWA’s successful track record in building high value global brands across multiple geographies will support us in accelerating the development of ANZ from multi-domestic brand to a regional icon as part of the bank’s super regional strategy.
“Whybin TBWA demonstrated they are the right agency to take us forward by presenting an outstanding master brand to product concept that integrates our core positioning. Their global organisation model will also allow us to effectively deliver a consistent and highquality approach for our brand across all of our markets,” said Ms Phillips.
M&C Saatchi and DDB also participated in the competitive review and Ms Phillips acknowledged the professionalism of both agencies that have each had long partnerships with ANZ.
“Both M&C Saatchi and DDB have been valued partners for many years and they are each responsible for several successful campaigns. M&C Saatchi are continuing to support our OnePath wealth brand and DDB will continue to support our Rugby World Cup 2011 sponsorship in New Zealand,” said Phillips.