Mortimer Whittaker O’Sullivan - the fledgling agency formerly known as
Advertising Options and a part of the GGT Group - has beaten the
incumbent, TBWA, to Direct Line’s pounds 13 million creative account
after a three-way pitch.
Direct Line put its creative account up for grabs in June. TBWA, which
has held the business for seven years, repitched against Mortimer
Whittaker and Mellors Reay and Partners, the third shortlisted agency.
The review was billed as ‘part of a wide-ranging business plan’ to be
undertaken by Direct Line’s new chief executive, Ian Chippendale. The
media account held by the Media Business is unaffected by the creative
Chippendale said: ‘This was an extremely closely fought pitch, with
proposals of the highest quality from all agencies. However, we
concluded that Mortimer Whittaker’s creative and strategic approach
would best meet Direct Line’s current and future advertising needs.’
He added: ‘It is with regret that we end our seven-year relationship
with TBWA and we wish to record our appreciation of its significant
contribution to Direct Line during that time.’
Jo Hoare, TBWA’s chairman, commented: ‘It’s been a fantastic
relationship but it’s the right time for a parting of the ways. We wish
them all the best. But I can’t say we are short of alternatives.’ Hoare
added that TBWA was currently on the shortlist for a rival insurance
The famous red telephone branding device, created by Chris Wilkins while
at Davis Wilkins Advertising, will remain the focal point for the
advertising. Chippendale said: ‘Future advertising will continue to
utilise the red phone, but executions will incorporate new thinking that
will make it work harder.’
The account transferred with Wilkins to Hoare Wilkins in 1991 and
finally moved to TBWA following its merger with Hoare Wilkins in 1994.
Wilkins, who left TBWA in April, recommended that Direct Line include
Mortimer Whittaker on its shortlist.
The agency is run by the former managing director of Generator, Tim
Mortimer, and the former KHBB creative directors, John O’Sullivan and