Mail and FCB end 25-year relationship

£22 million ad account follows the FCB veteran Brian Watson to The Law Firm.

The Daily Mail has ended one of the oldest agency relationships in British advertising. It has split with FCB London after 35 years and put its £22 million creative account into the fledgling communications group set up by the St Luke's founder Andy Law.

The pivotal figure in the switch is the veteran FCB creative Brian Watson, who has produced more than 1,400 ads for the paper over the past 25 years. Watson has quit FCB after 33 years to become one of the three executive creative directors at The Law Firm's London office.

At the same time, he will set up a low-cost, fast-turnaround production company called What's On Camera. This will mirror FCB Productions, from which Watson wrote and directed the Mail's ads.

The move, approved by the Mail's editor, Paul Dacre, and its managing director, Guy Zitter, was made to provide creative continuity on the account. The paper's media buying arrangements with Starcom are unaffected.

Zitter said: "As far as the Daily Mail is concerned, we have made no changes to our creative arrangements. We're working with the same creative resource we've used for the past 25 years."

The change renews Law and Watson's working relationship, which began when both were at FCB in the 80s.

Enda McCarthy, the Draft/FCB managing director, insisted the Daily Mail's departure would not be damaging because its relationship was with Watson rather than the agency, which had never had a contract with the client.

He said that even had the relationship continued, it would have had to be reviewed, given the stringent new accountancy rules imposed by the agency's Interpublic parent.

- Comment, page 56.