Visa hires Eloqui to drive corporate strategy in UK

Visa Europe has brought in Eloqui Public Relations to handle its UK corporate and B2B account following a three-month pitch.

The incumbent agency, Fishburn Hedges, which had originally planned to take part in the review (PRWeek, 4 March), said it had declined to repitch.

FH chairman Neil Hedges said the firm, which held the account for four years, dropped out because it felt that Visa Europe needed a 'new perspective'.

Visa Europe head of agency management Angela Sherrat said it wanted Eloqui to provide 'more strategic thinking'.

Eloqui chief executive Chris Genasi will report to Visa Europe senior vice-president of corporate comms Fiona Wilkinson when the agency takes over the account in June.

Much of Eloqui's brief will concern chip and pin credit cards, although the firm will also be tasked with maintaining Visa's profile as a responsible lender.

Visa Europe is also awaiting an EU decision on a single payment system for credit cards.

At the end of 2004 there were more than 85 million branded Visa cards in the UK, up ten per cent on the previous year. Cardholders spent more than £247m last year, up 13.3 per cent on the previous year.

But the company has been under pressure from rival Mastercard, which recorded 34 per cent customer growth in 2003.

Eloqui's hire does not affect GCI's work for Visa on UK consumer projects, or Burson-Marsteller's global account.

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