Direct Line begins hunt for Life shop

Direct Line Life, the recently formed joint venture between Direct Line and Scottish Widows, is searching for an advertising agency to boost its profile with a new multi-million pound advertising budget.

Direct Line Life, the recently formed joint venture between Direct

Line and Scottish Widows, is searching for an advertising agency to

boost its profile with a new multi-million pound advertising budget.



Direct Line Life, which offers PEPs and life products, contacted the

Advertising Agency Register last week, and is lining up four agencies to

pitch for the business. One source estimated the account could reach

pounds 12 million.



Direct Line’s main motor and home insurance account, which Mortimer

Whittaker O’Sullivan snatched from TBWA last year, is currently

unaffected by the review, and it is unclear whether Direct Line Life

will borrow the famous red telephone branding device that has remained

central to Mortimer Whittaker’s advertising.



Direct Line Life was formed on 1 July to strengthen existing ties

between the Royal Bank of Scotland, the owner of Direct Line, and

Scottish Widows.



Scottish Widows holds a 50 per cent stake in the company.



The pitch is believed to be led by Allison Crawford, a senior executive

at Direct Line Life, although a spokesperson played down reports of the

pitch: ’Any company that wants to make a success in any market reviews

its marketing regularly. That is all we are doing.’



The operation is based on Direct Line’s trademark direct phone

operation. Scottish Widows, meanwhile, provides underwriting expertise,

management services and some back office administration for the

venture.



At the launch of the company in July, Duncan MacKechnie, its chief

executive, said: ’We have given great consideration to the way in which

we sell protection products to our customers. The new venture will

continue to take the mystique out of buying life products over the

telephone. To simplify the service, we have already developed two

straightforward and competitive protection products that our customers

can buy over the telephone free of any form-filling hassles.’



Direct Line is a financial services group offering insurance schemes,

mortgages, PEPs, instant access saving and life insurance products over

the telephone.



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