Bates UK beats WCRS to net pounds 40m Sky task

Bates UK has picked up BSkyB's pounds 40 million creative account, following a two-way shoot-out against WCRS.

Bates UK has picked up BSkyB's pounds 40 million creative account, following a two-way shoot-out against WCRS.

WCRS will retain the pounds 12 million creative account for Sky's interactive TV service Open. Bates will work on driving Sky's digital sales and its channel packages.

Sky called a creative review in October and invited Bates, WCRS and The Leith Agency to pitch for the account. The incumbent agency is St Luke's, which has held the account for two years, and despite Sky's insistence late last year that St Luke's will remain on its roster, a number of sources say the agency is unlikely to work on the account in the future. Sky refused to comment on which agency it had appointed.

It is not clear what will happen to the advertising account for the digital TV recorder TiVo, which was also handled by St Luke's. TiVo recently confirmed that a new agency would work on the account, but the task has not been included within Bates' remit.

Bates will work alongside a number of smaller agency outfits such as Clinic, which has worked for the satellite broadcaster in the past. It is understood, however, that Sky is anxious to forge a more permanent relationship with a creative agency.

St Luke's was appointed by the former managing director of BSkyB, Elisabeth Murdoch, and although the agency was seen as an edgy, creative outfit that would help propel Sky's presence as the challenger brand, the satellite broadcaster is now keen to produce advertising that reflects its position as a market leader in the digital and multichannel TV market.

The win for Bates will be a significant morale booster for the agency, which had a tough year in 2000 following the loss of Halifax, one of its headline accounts. The agency's previous experience in the retail field, with accounts such as Kingfisher and Safeway, will have boosted the agency's credentials as Sky sought an outfit which could turn around consistent advertising at a rapid rate. The media account, held by Universal McCann, will not be affected by the review.


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