Research contradicts new-business slump

New-business activity was up by 79 per cent year-on-year in the

first quarter of 2001 according to the newbizmoves database, produced by

the AAR and MediaTel.



The figures contradict the claims of many agencies that new business has

been slow this year. However, the total value of pitches was up by just

13 per cent to pounds 673 million, indicating that a lot of the moves

have been made by smaller-spending clients.



Martin Jones, the owner of the AAR, said: "Undoubtedly the perception of

the market is based on the lack of major national clients holding

competitive pitches this year."



A total of 215 reviews were announced in the first quarter of 2001,

compared to 120 over the same period in 2000.



The majority of major pitches have been either international (Ericsson,

Vizzavi, World Gold Council and Marconi), or roster reviews (Unilever,

Kraft and Wella). Many major clients, including NatWest and Vodafone,

have moved their UK business without a formal pitch.



Creative-only reviews made up 66 per cent of the total, up from 53 per

cent last year, while media reviews were down to 25 per cent from 32 per

cent. The average number of agencies invited to pitch for each account

has remained constant at 2.7.



Dotcom reviews represented only 7 per cent of the total, compared with

28 per cent in the first quarter of 2000.



For direct marketing agencies, the local picture has been much more

buoyant: high- profile national clients such as BT, Orange, RBS/NatWest

and One2One all announced reviews in the first quarter.



Gloomy perceptions have encouraged redundancies in the first quarter of

2001. McCann-Erickson has lost 17 staff, Ogilvy & Mather has lost 19,

and Saatchi & Saatchi has closed its media planning department, with the

loss of up to 20 jobs. BMP DDB has found jobs within the group for four

of those it made redundant (Campaign, 11 May).



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