Agencies incensed as Ellesse stays in-house

Calls for binding agreements between agencies and clients to

prevent time-wasting pitches have been made after this week's decision

by Ellesse, the sportswear brand, to abandon a three-month agency search

and keep its advertising in-house.



Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, one of the disappointed contenders for

the pounds 15 million pan-European creative account, is urging the IPA

and ISBA to agree on better protection for agencies.



This could take the form of a contract under which clients putting

business up for pitch would compensate agencies if they failed to

appoint.



Ellesse has offered pounds 5,000 to MCBD and Doner Cardwell Hawkins

toward pitch costs, but each shop says it spent more than pounds 20,000

on the contest.



Miles Calcraft's managing director, Helen Calcraft, said: 'As a small

agency, this has cost us dear.' She also claimed the agency would not

have pitched had it known it was competing against Ellesse's in-house

graphic designers.



Paul Cardwell, Doner Cardwell's creative director, declared himself

'disappointed rather than angry' about Ellesse's decision.



The agency finalists were telephoned on Tuesday evening by Elena

Mathiou-Rose, the Ellesse vice-president of international marketing, to

be told the news.



It ended a process begun in February when the company, part of the

Pentland Group, briefed agencies to give the brand a clear identity and

voice in a market dominated by giant rivals such as Nike and Adidas.



Mathiou-Rose was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to press, but

sources close to the company said Ellesse did make clear that it would

not appointment an agency if it felt the work presented was no better

than what it already had.



One source close to the pitch said: 'Agencies have found the brief

difficult to crack - and none did.'



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