The incumbent agency on the global account is GCI, which also oversees the the company’s regional corporate PR accounts.
‘We are indeed conducting a review for PR counsel and services at Visa International. We expect to conclude it by year’s end,’ confirmed senior vice-president of global corporate relations Russ Yarrow.
‘We are looking for an agency to deliver a broad level of support for corporate reputation, stakeholder relations and corporate sponsorships and partnerships, including the Olympics.’
The review is being led by the company’s US headquarters in San Francisco, but will involve its other geographical divisions. It is being overseen by Yarrow’s boss, executive vice-president of brand management and corporate relations John Elkins, who founded international brand consultancy FutureBrand.
The review comes as Visa faces threats to its brand image in the UK, following accusations against card providers of confusing and expensive interest rates.
Visa was accused last year of violating anti-trust laws by a clutch of retailers, led by Wal-Mart, who claimed the company attempted to monopolise a legally defined market for debit cards. Visa agreed a £1.2bn out-of-court settlement, payable over the next decade.
The company has also been keen to distance its name from internet pornography sites, which invite users to download material by credit card.
Visa has signed up to be a major sponsor of the Olympic Games until the 2012 event, and is an ‘official worldwide partner’ of the current Rugby World Cup.
Visa operates the world’s largest consumer payment system, with more than one billion cards carrying its name.