Alliance & Leicester kicks off review of £17m media task

LONDON - The Alliance & Leicester is reviewing its £17m media planning and buying account.

The business has been with MediaVest Manchester for two years, but A&L is talking to other agencies ahead of holding a pitch.

A&L refused to give full details of which agencies it is speaking to, but confirmed that they include the incumbent. Agency sources suggest that A&L has approached several top-ten media agencies. The review covers A&L's television and print planning and buying.

MediaVest Manchester won the business after pitching against the incumbents AMS and Tri-Direct, as well as ZenithOptimedia and Walker Media.

A&L is ploughing £10m into its e-commerce operations but is committed to a £12m annual TV spend. Its most recent activity was a £5m campaign, through Big Communications and its in-house design team, voiced by Stephen Fry.

The ads, which are reminiscent of the 90s "smarter investor" work, aimed to highlight A&L's Premier Plus account, which it claims is a better product than those offered by the "big four" banks.

Previous above-the-line work was created by PWLC and included a campaign using a gameshow theme to support A&L's Premier Current Account.

Stephen Leonard, A&L's director of brand marketing and e-commerce, has overall responsibility for the review.

An A&L spokeswoman confirmed: "We are conducting a statutory review of our television and press planning and buying arrangements. Discussions with agencies are ongoing."

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