Citi, the financial services company (including Citibank) is anointing Publicis Groupe to oversee all of its global media business following a formal review.
Last year, the holding company created One Citi Global to manage creative, digital and production responsibilities and now Publicis will add media buying and planning duties.
Before placing it media accounts under one roof, Citi worked with MEC for U.S. media planning and buying since 2007. Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group had handled some international duties for the client.
This consolidation is the latest move by Citi to simplify its business model. In recent years, the company has streamlined its business by focusing on traditional consumer, corporate and private banking and getting away from brokerage, insurance and consumer finance activities. This strategy shift also follows last year’s appointment of Heather Cox as Citi’s chief client experience, digital and marketing officer, global consumer banking.
In the U.S., Citi spent $332 million on ads in 2014, down 8% from the $362 million it spent in 2013, according to Kantar Media. Globally, the financial institution spent $1.8 billion on marketing and advertising in 2014 and 2013, according to its financial records.
One area of focus under this new partnership will be credit cards. Starting in April 2016, Citi-branded Visa cards will replace American Express as the exclusive credit card at Costco's 474 warehouse outlets in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. As a result, Citi plans to lift the level of marketing spend for its cards business during the second half of this year and then more fully in 2016.