M&C Saatchi is working with Friends Provident as the pensions and
life assurance specialist considers a major advertising comeback.
Friends Provident - one of the UK’s top 20 life assurance companies -
confirmed this week that it was considering the move almost two years
after splitting with McCann-Erickson.
M&C Saatchi has been briefed to work on a co-ordinated communications
plan across a broad spectrum ranging from above-the-line advertising to
direct marketing and sponsorship.
The Friends Provident corporate communications manager, Brian Wilkinson,
said: ’We want to make sure that we are punching our weight and playing
to our strengths in what is already an overcrowded and very competitive
The Friends Provident account complements M&C Saatchi’s existing
financial business which includes Scottish Equitable and Sainsbury’s,
which appointed the agency last year to launch its banking service.
Friends Provident has been ambivalent about consumer advertising in
recent years. McCanns gave up the pounds 5 million account in October
1995 after six years, saying the company was not fully committed.
Wilkinson said: ’We’re such a respected player in our market that we
already have a pretty high awareness level. But we’re always looking at
ways of adding value to the business.’
Friends Provident last advertised on television in 1994 with a campaign
that covered the theme: ’Friends provides at every stage of your
Nick Hurrell, the M&C Saatchi joint chief executive, said: ’The Friends
Provident brand has huge implicit strengths which have not been made
We have to make our case but, bearing in mind the company’s competitive
environment, it’s a very strong one.’
Wilkinson said M&C Saatchi’s other financial business was unlikely to
cause conflict. ’We don’t believe it will be a problem.’