Carat wins TotalFinaElf rebranding media task

By MATTHEW COWEN,, Friday, 30 November 2001 12:00PM

Carat International has won the oil giant TotalFinaElf's £40

million pan-European media account ahead of the conglomerate's

continent-wide rebranding drive.

The agency would not confirm or deny that it had won the business and it

is understood that a contract has still to be signed. However, Carat has

been left as the sole negotiating agency after a pitch against

Initiative Media and Media Planning Group.

The appointment of Carat comes four months after the BBDO network beat

Grey Worldwide, TBWA, Euro RSCG and the french agency devarrieuxvillaret

to land the European creative account, with Miles Calcraft Briginshaw

Duffy picking up the business in the UK. Carat and BBDO have been given

the job of rebranding the company as Total after a decision earlier this

year to unite the Franco-Belgian group under a single brand name.

The shake-up in marketing strategy was precipitated by TotalFina's hotly

contested £55 billion takeover of Elf Aquitaine in 1999.

TotalFinaElf has previously had a limited ad presence in the UK, working

with Marketing Drive and BJK&E on a project-by-project basis and holding

back from advertising on TV. The UK operation of TotalFinaElf had

planned a television campaign through BJK&E and Marketing Drive last

year but the ads were put on hold with the issuing of the rebranding

brief. BJK&E did not repitch.

The rebranding comes at a time when petrol companies are increasingly

turning to TV in an attempt to patch up their public image.

TotalFinaElf, which is the UK's fifth-largest petrol supplier, is

expected to increase its spend significantly in the UK as it attempts to

forge a new identity. However, the bulk of the pan-European spend will

be concentrated in Paris, where the conglomerate is strongest.

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