Virgin Direct has split with its incumbent of ten months, Ammirati Puris
Lintas, citing a wish to move away from traditional agency relationships
to find a more flexible way of working.
Indra Sinha, the former creative director of Collett Dickenson Pearce
and now an independent creative, will do creative work on the pounds 6
million business, alongside the ad team at Virgin Direct’s public
relations incumbent, Consolidated Communications. Media will remain with
Manning Gottlieb Media.
The Virgin Direct marketing director, Tony Wood, said this would give a
more flexible approach to the promotion of Virgin Direct, which is a
joint venture between Richard Branson’s Virgin empire and Norwich Union.
The finance company handed its advertising to S. P. Lintas, without a
competitive pitch, last July because Wood and his managing director,
Rowan Gormley, were impressed by its ‘teamwork’ approach to solving
Since then, a string of high-profile departures and a return to more
traditional methods of working at the agency is reported to have put a
strain on the relationship, although Wood denied this was a factor in
the decision to quit.
‘Creatively, we have been very pleased right from the start [with APL].
However, there are frustrations in dealing with a larger and more
traditional agency, and one thing we’ve been increasingly conscious of
is that we’re very PR-led,’ Woods commented.
He continued: ‘If ever we do go back to a normal agency relationship,
then APL will be top of the list,’ adding that this would not happen in
the foreseeable future.
Virgin Direct has always appeared slightly uncomfortable with a
traditional agency relationship, having only stayed with Rainey Kelly
Campbell Roalfe for a few months after its launch last March.