Local agencies compete with MNCs in OCBC creative pitch as incumbent McCann bows out

OCBC BankOCBC Bank is in the process of evaluating agencies in its hunt for a new advertising agency partner, with a number of local independents in the running for the large regional account.

Ogilvy is among the network agencies to have been shortlisted for the business that was previously handled by McCann, while The Secret Little Agency and GOVT are among the independent players involved in the process, Mumbrella understands.

Kelvin Wong, VP of group corporate communications, OCBC Bank, declined to say which agencies have been shortlisted, but confirmed that a mixture of network and local agencies have been invited to pitch.

He said in a statement: “We invited a mix of network agencies and local independent agencies earlier this month to participate in this pitch and are in the process of evaluating them.”

“In our search for a new creative agency, we are looking for one that understands our brand values and objectives, helping us further strengthen the OCBC brand,” he said.

Industry observers close to the pitch suggested that local agencies would struggle to produce the scope of work need on such a large account, and may need to partner with a bigger shop to win the business. Others suggested that OCBC is either looking for an increasingly local flavour in its advertising, or wants to work with more cost effective partners.

Presentations are to take place mid-September. The winner will work alongside OCBC’s media agency of record, GroupM’s Maxus.

McCann has declined to repitch for the business, and the agency has restructured a number of jobs to adjust to the account loss.

In a statement shared with Mumbrella this morning, the agency said: “Discussions are taking place with OCBC team members. McCann remains the creative partner of OCBC until the end of the year, so there will be few immediate changes. We are working to transition people to other parts of the business, where possible.”

Rumours are circulating that the account loss could mean the agency’s CEO, Robert Doswell, would be relieved of the top job. McCann stated that Doswell, who took the CEO role in 2014, “remains within McCann Worldgroup.” Doswell is regional MD of production hub Craft Worldwide as well as Singapore CEO.


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