Mastercard starts UK creative review

Publicis is gearing up for a head-to-head battle against McCann-Erickson for its pounds 5 million Mastercard creative account in the UK.

Publicis is gearing up for a head-to-head battle against

McCann-Erickson for its pounds 5 million Mastercard creative account in

the UK.



Sources close to the business say the UK account has been under threat

since Mastercard ditched Publicis and appointed McCann-Erickson to

handle the brand in France last month.



The two agencies are understood to be lining up to pitch next month in

the UK and a decision is expected shortly afterwards.



Media planning and buying, held by the Publicis group agency, Optimedia,

is not thought to be affected by the review.



McCann already handles Mastercard in the US and has been steadily

picking up Mastercard business across Europe in recent months, following

the success of its ’price less’ campaign in America. The agency was

awarded the German account last July and won the business in Switzerland

in December.



In February, Europay International appointed the McCann network to

handle a pan-European advertising campaign to support Mastercard’s

sponsorship of the next European Football Championships, Euro 2000. All

Mastercard’s football sponsorship had previously been handled by

Publicis, which produced TV campaigns supporting the client’s

sponsorship of Euro 96 and of last year’s World Cup in France.



Publicis won the Mastercard account in the UK in 1994 and was appointed

a year later to handle all UK advertising connected with its sponsorship

of world championship football for four years.



In 1996, Mastercard called a review after its merger with Access, but

Publicis retained the account after pitching against Ammirati Puris

Lintas, DMB&B and Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper.



McCann won the pounds 50 million Mastercard business in the US in July

1997 after the incumbent, APL, fell out with the client over

strategy.



The latest UK branding campaign created by Publicis began running in

1997 with the strapline, ’We’re in your corner’, and was designed to

show that Mastercard can help buy the experience of a lifetime. The

first two commercials featured a man with a pink Cadillac and a retired

woman going shopping in Manhattan.



No-one at McCann, Publicis or Mastercard was available for comment.



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