NEWS: TSB hunts agency for card link-up

TSB and British Gas are trawling advertising agencies as they prepare to launch a jointly funded affinity card, backed by a multi-million pound adspend.

TSB and British Gas are trawling advertising agencies as they prepare to

launch a jointly funded affinity card, backed by a multi-million pound

adspend.



TSB, which was acquired by Lloyds Bank at the end of last year, has

approached a number of mainstream agencies last week, including Lowe

Howard-Spink, Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow

and Johnson, Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters and DMB&B.



Sources said the adspend behind the credit card launch could reach

pounds 10 million.



British Gas is understood to be keen to cement customer loyalty as the

gas market fragments as more competitors are entering the fray. Like

most affinity cards, the TSB/British Gas card will be dual-purpose,

allowing customers to pay their bills as well as making general

purchases. Card holders are expected to get a discount on their bills.



Shortlisted agencies will receive more details about the product later

this week, with a final decision expected shortly.



The account will be largely direct marketing based, but TSB is

understood to be keen to appoint a full-service agency with strong

above-the-line credentials. The search for a shop is being led by Chris

Moss, the head of campaign management at TSB.



Moss, who helped to create the Orange brand for Hutchison Telecom, was

brought in by TSB in December. This new role gave him responsibility for

co-ordinating all of the bank’s product and branding campaigns as it

prepared for the pounds 13.6 billion merger with Lloyds.



Moss is also involved in determining creative strategy and media

planning.



Since 1990, when the Royal Bank of Scotland and the NSPCC launched the

first affinity card in the UK, increasing numbers of clients have set up

loyalty building schemes. There are now 1.5 million affinity cards,

which accounts for 5 per cent of all credit cards, according to the

Credit Card Research Group.



The biggest launch so far was Vauxhall’s GM card, which debuted in 1994

with a pounds 15 million budget through K Advertising.



The news of the launch of TSB/British Gas affinity card comes in the

same week that Tesco announced it was also launching its own credit

card. The card will be co-branded with NatWest.



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