- M&C Saatchi has been sensationally rewarded for its stalking of the Sainsbury's account by scooping the lion's share of the retailer's £43 million account.
The switch is thought to leave Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Sainsbury's agency for the past 20 years, with press and price-led tactical assignments while the high-profile TV work moves to its rival.
The change -- exclusively predicted by Campaign last month and expected to be confirmed shortly -- culminates several months of speculation about the future of the business at AMV in the light of the supermarketer's flagging sales.
M&C Saatchi has been attempting to make inroads on the business since its appointment to launch Sainsbury's banking operation at the end of 1996.
Speculation intensified earlier this year when Sainsbury's admitted that its "Value to shout about" TV campaign starring John Cleese had been a consumer turn-off.
Sainsbury's is thought to have turned to M&C Saatchi after the agency, which was asked to carry out an internal staff motivation project for the company last autumn, produced three pilot commercials.
The films, which are said to take Sainsbury's back to its core values, were given the thumbs-up at a convention of senior managers. M&C Saatchi is believed to have been confirmed on the business after Sainsbury's bosses saw presentations from both agencies three weeks ago.