Media: Lifeline - The Allmond Partnership

The agency has fallen on hard times with the loss of clients and talent.

DECEMBER 1997 ...

Nigel Allmond (pictured), the director in charge of the £160 million BT account at CIA Group's Negotiation Centre, quits to set up The Allmond Partnership with the backing of Manning Gottlieb Media. No-one is surprised when BT follows him across town in 1998.

JUNE 2003 ...

After falling out with Manning Gottlieb over strategy issues, Allmond acquires full control. Paul Longhurst, who joined TAP in 2001 to set up its new-media division, becomes the agency's managing director. Although it has other clients, including the AA, Nissan and COI Communications, BT still accounts for more than 50 per cent of TAP billings.

DECEMBER 2003 ...

TAP wins the £15 million planning and buying account for Weetabix after pitching against the incumbent, PHD, and Initiative Media. But the new year brings gloom - in April, TAP loses the £33 million TV account for O2 (formerly BT Cellnet, now hived off as a standalone company) to ZenithOptimedia, and in September, it cedes Yell's £7 million TV buying to PHD.

JUNE 2005 ...

TAP hits a new low when it makes Longhurst (pictured) redundant. It is now running short of talent - Nigel Breckon, its press director, was an earlier casualty. There are worrying rumours that BT is looking to consolidate its billings into one holding company.

SEPTEMBER 2005 ...

Walker Media snatches the £9 million Weetabix account from TAP. The new Weetabix boss, Ken Wood, formerly of Muller Foods, worked with Christine Walker, the chairman of Walker Media, when Muller was a Zenith client. TAP now looks dangerously reliant on BT as its major client.

FAST FORWARD ...

May 2006 As part of an all-or-nothing assault on the BT account, WPP offers to take a majority stake in TAP - therefore allowing it to rejoin a potential BT pitch-list under the company's new roster guidelines. But Allmond plays hardball when he realises his agency will be housed in the Mediaedge:cia wing - returning him to the environment he was so keen to escape in 1997.

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