CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/BARCLAYS - Barclays client claims 'value and quality' lead agency rejig. The new appointments to Barclays have raised a few eyebrows

When an agency wins a blue-chip, high-profile, big-spending client,

a Campaign journalist usually has to beat off the chief executive or

managing director with a very large stick. While the executive is

gushing something along the lines of "We're delighted! We worked bloody

hard on it though and deserved the win", the losing agency is typically

polite but tight-lipped.



But when it comes to asking anyone about last week's sudden move of

Barclays from Leagas Delaney to Bartle Bogle Hegarty or the recent media

switch from MediaVest to Starcom Motive, no-one seems to want to

talk.



Mark Cranmer, the chief executive for Starcom Motive Europe, the Middle

East and Africa, was on holiday and unable to discuss the move. Iain

Jacob, Starcom's UK managing director, was also unwilling to

comment.



So why are neither BBH nor Starcom being particularly forthcoming about

how they gained the two accounts?



When Leagas Delaney took the Barclays account off J. Walter Thompson in

1999, it was lauded for the "clean" nature of the victory. Campaign

wrote: "There's no suggestion of politics, of the old boy network at

play, of a desire to cut costs, of financial or any other shenanigans.

It appears to have been a professionally run pitch with a decision made

for a good old-fashioned reason: Barclays preferred Leagas Delaney's

creative and strategic solutions."



This time, the tone was different. The new Barclays group marketing

director, Simon Gulliford, appointed the media and advertising agency he

previously worked with while at Emap. The above-the-line account was

awarded without a pitch but after BBH had successfully completed a brand

architecture project for the banking group.



Barclays hired Gulliford, one of Emap's top marketers, in April this

year when he left his job as the marketing director of Emap Consumer

Magazines, after four years in the position.



At Emap, Gulliford was responsible for developing a domestic and

international strategy for FHM, and was heavily involved in the creation

and launch of both Red and Heat magazines - both of which have struggled

to find a place in the market.



Before joining Emap, Gulliford worked for the first time with BBH when

he was at Sears, where he was involved in the relaunch of

Selfridges.



However, Gulliford strongly denies that previous relationships had any

bearing on the Barclays appointments.



"The only reason that BBH was given the work was on the basis of the

quality of work presented and the value for money that it offered," he

told Campaign.



Leagas Delaney is still on the Barclays roster and there is no lead

agency, he added.



John Hegarty, BBH's group chairman and global creative director, admits

that working with Gulliford for more than ten years was a fantastic

help.



"The best advertising is produced by the best relationships. There's no

question that having a good relationship with Simon was very beneficial

for us," he says.



Hegarty states that he has been on the receiving end of this experience

before and, as a result, feels sympathy for Leagas Delaney. He also

praises the work it did for the bank: "I thought the 'big' ads were a

tremendous piece of advertising. I loved them."



Starcom , for its part, had the dubious pleasure of pinching the media

account from its sister agency. However, MediaVest was put through the

pains of pitching for an account it suspected was a lost cause. It has

been suggested that there was a communication problem with

Gulliford.



"He never really wanted to engage with Leagas Delaney. His end game was

to move to BBH. He needed to justify that move," one observer says.



Gulliford appeared to get the justification when the "big" campaign

suffered badly. Two weeks after it broke, Barclays decided to close 172

branches in one day. In this action, it was following its competitors,

though somewhat later. At the same time, bad press about Barclays'

proposed ATM charges for non-customers and the chairman's salary

surfaced.



"Leagas has been through a pretty bloody time on Barclays over the past

six months and no agency likes to be put through that. It was unpleasant

and very demoralising for the agency," an insider says.



Jim Marshall, MediaVest's chief executive, claims the loss was

disappointing, but adds: "Barclays was looking for a different type of

service and ultimately it was good that it stayed within the group."



One interesting detail about the changes in roster is that different

sectors of the bank didn't know what other marketing departments were

doing.



Gulliford was brought in to resolve conflicts between the central

marketing and business marketing functions and between group marketing

in London and business marketing in Coventry.



Group marketing wanted control because it felt that was its remit but

the business marketing wanted to do its own thing.



Leagas Delaney is said not to have known about the closures when

developing the "big" campaign. Nor, surprisingly, did those people

commissioning the work. "It was a decision taken within the retail bank

that the group marketing people knew nothing about," an industry source

claims.



Leagas Delaney saw Gulliford's appointment as a ray of hope for the

account as he started to sort the problem out. But after the lack of

contact with the client and the ousting of MediaVest, the agency began

to see its fate looming.



Hegarty is the only one forthcoming about where the client will go from

here now Gulliford has renewed old agency links.



"'Bigness' had created a distinctiveness for the bank and this in the

financial market place is a fantastic thing to achieve," he says.



"But there are negatives to the 'big' message. Not everybody wants

'big', what they want is 'personal'. How you make personal work with

bigness is the issue. The briefs we have are about product, so now it's

not just about brand advertising, it's about delivering products that

say that Barclays is a better bank. That's our first task."