NEWS: Zenith lands new pounds 12m Abbey task

By JOHN OWEN,, Friday, 29 March 1996 12:00AM

Zenith Media has scooped the media planning and buying account to launch Abbey National’s new General Insurance division after a three-way pitch.

Zenith Media has scooped the media planning and buying account to launch

Abbey National’s new General Insurance division after a three-way pitch.

The account, which is expected to be worth between pounds 12 million and

pounds 18 million in the first year, came up for review last summer.

Elaine Robinson, the marketing director of the General Insurance

division, conducted a pitch for the company’s creative account and saw a

range of media presentations at the same time.

Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters triumphed in the creative pitch, but

Robinson decided to delay a decision on the media and held a separate

media pitch earlier this month. BBJ Media Services originally pitched

with Duckworth Finn, but was not included on the final media pitch-list.

Seven media companies are understood to have received an initial brief,

but the competitors were then whittled down to three. Zenith eventually

overcame TMD Carat and Universal McCann in a full-blooded media pitch

two weeks ago. Media Audits acted as consultant to General Insurance

during the pitch process. It is thought that the brief focused on

strategic and planning issues, rather than buying clout.

The main Abbey National media business is centralised through TMD, but

Robinson is thought to want to stamp her own mark on the General

Insurance brand. TMD’s hold on the core Abbey business, which is worth

pounds 20 million, is unaffected by this decision.

Zenith’s joint managing director, Andy Tilley, has been working for the

insurance company for some time on a consultancy basis, but insiders

have always insisted that the pitches were held on a level playing

field. Neither Tilley nor anyone else at Zenith was available to confirm

the win, but it is understood that at least one of the other competing

agencies has been informed of the decision.

Zenith is expected to work with Duckworth Finn to create a new brand

identity for the insurance products, which have previously been sold off

the back of mortgages.

The account was originally thought to be worth about pounds 10 million,

but as the division nears its consumer launch, budgets are understood to

have been increased to pounds 12 million or more.

Zenith also handles the combined media business for the Leeds and

Halifax building societies.

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