Publicis defeats O&M to win Woolwich task

Publicis has scooped the multi-million pound Woolwich creative account, ending Ogilvy & Mather’s tenure of more than 70 years.

Publicis has scooped the multi-million pound Woolwich creative

account, ending Ogilvy & Mather’s tenure of more than 70 years.

The appointment is expected to be the first stage in an image makeover

for the building society turned bank, although its famous ’we’re with

the Woolwich’ slogan may survive.

Publicis’s victory against O&M and Bartle Bogle Hegarty makes Optimedia,

the Publicis group media operation, a leading contender for Woolwich’s

media buying business, which is under review at MindShare.

For Publicis, the win fills the gap left by the departure eight years

ago of Abbey National. Budgets are undisclosed but the Woolwich is

thought to have set aside more than pounds 10 million to back what will

be a relaunch campaign two years after its conversion.

The company’s adspend dipped last year as Woolwich chiefs wrestled with

the image problem created by its conversion to a bank, while

experiencing the effects of a shrinking mortgage market and falling

interest rates.

The Woolwich wants to become a more robust challenger to the major high

street banks and rival financial service providers such as Direct Line,

Egg and Standard Life, while safeguarding its future against potential


The advertising is expected to position the Woolwich as having the scale

to offer a broad range of financial products, but with a customer focus

to eclipse the financial monoliths. New services being promoted include

Open Plan, a customised banking service, and Motorbase, a car finance


Industry sources say the ’we’re with the Woolwich’ line may be retained

but not necessarily in its present form. ’It’s part of Woolwich’s equity

so there could be variations of it,’ an insider said.

Richard Hytner, the Publicis chairman who led the agency’s pitch team,

said: ’It’s a great time to be taking on a brand like the Woolwich

because the financial services sector is more dynamic than ever, which

puts a premium on fresh and innovative thinking.’

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