Paul Woolfenden, the new marketing director of Express Newspapers,
has fired Lowe Howard-Spink from the group’s flagship Express account
and appointed Leo Burnett. The decision was made on Wednesday, just two
days into Woolfenden’s reign.
The move consolidates Express Newspapers’ pounds 6 million advertising
under one roof. Burnetts has worked with the group for 16 years and has
handled the Daily Star since 1988. Before that it was the agency of
record for the Express on Sunday.
Burnetts hung on to the Star account against the odds last year after
Lowes won what had been billed as a ’winner-takes-all’ pitch.
At the time, it was anticipated that Lowes would be asked to produce a
major branding campaign for the Express, but this never materialised and
advertising for the Express has since been product-led, focusing mostly
on the title’s sports coverage.
Woolfenden made it clear five weeks ago, when it was announced he was
joining the Express, that he would review its creative account. He told
Campaign that Lowes’ work had been ’interesting but perhaps could have
been better’ (Campaign, 27 February).
Woolfenden said this week: ’Leo Burnett has continued to come up with
excellent creative ideas for the Daily Star, and I am confident it will
do the same for the Express. Our relationship with Lowes on the Express
has been positive and fruitful, but it suits our current needs to put
all our work through one agency.’
Media buying is unaffected and remains with IDK Media.
Burnetts’ managing director, Stephen Whyte, called the win ’a testament
to our track record on the Daily Star’. Burnetts created the popular
’ooh aah, Daily Star’ line and caused a furore last year with the UK’s
first topless radio ad, starring the page three girl, Jo Guest.
Paul Hammersley, managing director of Lowes, declined to comment.
Woolfenden, who was poached from the Telegraph to turn Express
Newspapers into a more aggressive marketing operation, will embark on a
reassessment of his newspaper brands, including a tighter identification
of target markets for the Express.
The Express re-organised into a seven-day operation more than 18 month
ago. Its circulation has fluctuated since. In the ABC audit for
February, its circulation was down just over 1 per cent to 1,195,766, as
its mid-market rival, the Daily Mail increased its circulation to