JWT mulls Cheetham Bell London shop for Bates work

LONDON - J Walter Thompson is considering opening a London office of its Manchester-based Cheetham Bell shop to resolve conflict issues arising from the anticipated arrival of Bates UK clients.

Following the successful offer by JWT's WPP parent for Cordiant, which owns the Bates network, the agency stands to increase its billings by more than £20m if it can find a solution to the potential clash that could be caused by Heinz frozen food business and Georgia-Pacific's Nouvelle toilet tissue brand.

JWT would find it difficult to run the two accounts, which have a combined value of around £5m, alongside its Kraft and Nestle clients in London.

Launching Cheetham Bell in the capital would be one way around the problem for both the agency and its clients. It is one of the options being looked at by JWT, which is said to be searching for a management team to head the operation.

Cheetham Bell's chief executive, David Bell, who founded the agency with the creative director, Andy Cheetham, 10 years ago, said the agency was in discussions over the launch of a London office.

He said: "It could well happen if it suits the clients involved. We will know soon."

As it stands, WPP's HHCL/Red Cell is expected to pick up the Sky account, with the majority of Bates' billings going into JWT. This would include HSBC Republic, Hoover, Thames Water and the scooter company, Piaggio.

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