GGT has claimed it will make no redundancies after the loss of its
flagship client, the Nationwide Building Society, which pulled the plug
on its pounds 14 million account this week.
The Nationwide, which paid millions of pounds to sponsor the football
league this summer, failed to renew GGT’s contract last week, declaring
that it was ’no longer necessary’ to retain an agency on a full-service
basis. According to a spokesman for the building society, management is
still in negotiations with the GGT/CIA media joint venture, Media
Solutions, about whether to retain it for media planning and buying.
’It is our intention to remain, but, as you will expect, there is an
element of negotiation,’ the spokesman said. He declined to comment on
whether the company was talking to any other media companies.
On paper, the loss of GGT’s largest client will wipe out a quarter of
its billings, which were estimated at pounds 58 million in the year
ending June 1996 (Register-MEAL). However, the GGT managing director,
Grant Duncan, claimed the move was more than compensated for by the
agency’s Telewest win early this year.
’These things happen. Nationwide is clearly pursuing a new strategy,’ he
Duncan added that the loss would have no impact on the GGT group’s deal
to buy the French BDDP network, which is at a sensitive stage at the
Shares in GGT are currently suspended on the stock exchange, probably
until the end of February, while the chairman, Michael Greenlees, raises
the necessary finance for the deal.
Nationwide claimed it parted company with GGT because it now had a clear
communications strategy in place and didn’t need a full-service agency
to run it. A spokesman denied that it was a cost-cutting measure to help
finance its football sponsorship deal.
Nationwide’s current marketing strategy focuses on the ’Nationwide
savings challenge’. This encourages the public to call in on a freephone
number to check whether their savings or mortgage rates are as good as
those the building society can offer.
GGT’s two latest television commercials for Nationwide have been topped
and tailed with the challenge’s telephone number.