TBWA GGT Simons Palmer gears up for integration of pounds 50m task

An agency’s ability to triumph in the most gladiatorial part of the advertising process - the competitive pitch - is still seen as the ultimate test of advertising virility. So how did TBWA GGT Simons Palmer pull it off to win one of the largest accounts ever to have moved in the UK?

An agency’s ability to triumph in the most gladiatorial part of the

advertising process - the competitive pitch - is still seen as the

ultimate test of advertising virility. So how did TBWA GGT Simons Palmer

pull it off to win one of the largest accounts ever to have moved in the

UK?



First, it was not a pitch in the traditional sense of developing a piece

of strategic and creative thinking over an artificially short period of

time and selling it to the client in a presentation rehearsed at 3.00am

the previous morning. Motivated by a McKinsey & Company review, which

looked at all processes within NatWest, including supplier

relationships, the pitch had more to do with how the winning agency

would handle an account of this size.



Second, from the moment TBWA received the initial approach from NatWest

(1 April this year, by letter) the agency assembled a small pitch team

which included people from its below-the-line agency, GGT Direct.



’The pitch was in every sense a joint effort,’ TBWA’s chairman, Paul

Bainsfair, says. The key line-up was Bainsfair, Peter Jones and Grant

Duncan (from TBWA) and Peter Herd, Penny Reid and Mike Cornwell (GGT

Direct’s chairman, deputy managing director and managing director

respectively).



The account will be handled from TBWA’s Whitfield Street offices within

a secure unit called the ’NatWest village’ headed by Jones and Reid. It

will house ’a couple of dozen’ account handlers and planners - who will

work on other business too - and serve as an office for NatWest’s

marketers.



’It’s not about mirroring NatWest’s structure,’ Bainsfair comments.

’It’s more about making its marketers feel they have a unified

brand.’



The ’village’ will be designed as a flexible, modern environment where

all disciplines can work together, and it will feature hot-desking and a

cordless phone system.