M&C wins Friends Provident brief

M&C Saatchi is working with Friends Provident as the pensions and life assurance specialist considers a major advertising comeback.

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

market.’



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

life’.



Nick Hurrell, the M&C Saatchi joint chief executive, said: ’The Friends

Provident brand has huge implicit strengths which have not been made

explicit.



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.’



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