’Sin bin’ uncovers inflated billings

Campaign unveils its first ’new-business sin bin’ this week - a selection of agencies which overclaimed the billings on certain accounts and, as a consequence, gained a higher-than-deserved position in last year’s business performance league.

Campaign unveils its first ’new-business sin bin’ this week - a

selection of agencies which overclaimed the billings on certain accounts

and, as a consequence, gained a higher-than-deserved position in last

year’s business performance league.



We took the claimed figures for individual accounts from the 1996

business league - which are supposed to equate to the next 12 months’

above-the-line spend - and compared them with the AC Nielsen MEAL

figures for the corresponding period.



There was a consistent 25 per cent mark-up across the board, although

our efforts to block overclaiming by referring to already existing MEAL

figures in the absence of client confirmation clearly paid dividends in

many cases.



However, some slipped through the net. J. Walter Thompson was awarded

pounds 5 million when it won Railtrack in February. According to MEAL,

the company has so far spent pounds 900,000 on advertising.



Similarly, McCann-Erickson won pounds 5 million for the launch

advertising campaign of Midnight Sun, a ’soon-to-be-launched cruise

line’, in June.



There is no record of this company in MEAL.



Saatchi & Saatchi and Bartle Bogle Hegarty also find themselves in the

’bin’: Saatchis was awarded pounds 6 million in January for Pepcid AC,

Johnson & Johnson’s antacid brand, which spent just pounds 1.2 million

in the 12 months to December. BBH won the ’pounds 7 million’ Golden

Wonder account in May, which spent only pounds 3.8 million.



Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson, which has since merged with TBWA to form

TBWA Simons Palmer, also doubled its money on the Goldfish account, for

which it was awarded a pounds 20 million spend in May. Goldfish spent

just over pounds 10 million in the following 12 months, according to

MEAL.



HHCL Brasserie achieved a threefold inflation rate on its Sega games win

last August. Sega spent less than pounds 2 million, compared with the

pounds 6 million claimed.



Ogilvy & Mather added pounds 10 million for its Impulse win last April.

The account registered pounds 3.3 million in MEAL billings in the 12

months to June this year.



But St Luke’s escaped the ’sin bin’ and won a place on the pedestal of

virtue, claiming pounds 6 million for Eurostar, which spent pounds 13.5

million, and pounds 4 million for Ikea, which spent pounds 5.6 million.



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