The Department of Transport has decided to split its pounds 5 million-a-
year account between Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and the incumbent, D’Arcy
Masius Benton and Bowles.
The unusual decision follows a ‘draw’ in a shoot-out this week between
the two agencies, which will each have about pounds 2.5 million of
The move will keep both shops on their toes for the next two years, when
the department will consider putting its entire business into one
DMB&B will retain control of its campaigns to deter drinking and driving
and to improve road safety among children. Abbott Mead will take over
the effort to urge motorists to reduce their speed.
Cilla Snowball, Abbott Mead’s head of client service, who led the pitch,
said: ‘This is a very significant win for us. It’s our first COI
assignment and it gives us the opportunity to produce advertising that
will help reduce road deaths and accidents.’
The DoT review was brought forward after Graham Hinton’s departure from
his post as joint chairman of DMB&B, which prompted speculation in
Whitehall that the agency would lose the account.
Martin Helm, head of information at the DoT, said the result may have
been a draw for the agencies, but it was a double win for the
department. ‘We have got two really good agencies,’ he said. ‘DMB&B has
taken it very well and we are very glad it is still with us. But Abbott
Mead barnstormed on to the scene with some very strong creative
proposals on the danger of speed.’
It is believed Abbott Mead’s proposal will build on DMB&B’s ‘Kill your
speed, not a child’ campaign and the slogan may be retained. Abbott
Mead’s ideas will not be seen until next summer as DMB&B work already in
the pipeline will go ahead in the meantime.
The performances of the two agencies were so closely aligned that after
Monday’s two-way pitch Steve Norris, the junior Transport Minister,
needed more time to mull over his decision.
Leagas Shafron Davis, Delaney Fletcher Bozell and Grey were eliminated
after initial pitches last month.