TBWA wins £20m VTech ad task in Europe

LONDON - TBWA\London has landed the pan-European account for the educational technology giant VTech Electronics, after Omnicom beat Fallon in a global head-to-head pitch for the £20m business.

TBWA's London agency was called into the review at the request of Omnicom's New York-based agency, Merkley Newman Harty Partners, after VTech called a review of its global account last year.

MNHP had presented strategic ideas to VTech but lacked the global network necessary to pitch for the business, with the company demanding an international campaign for the first time in its 25-year history.

VTech saw creds from several networks before including the Omnicom agencies on its shortlist alongside Fallon, which handled the pitch from its Minneapolis office.

TBWA\London, which already looks after the network's pan-European Apple computer business, will oversee the VTech account across the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the Benelux territories. The account is worth £6 million. Worldwide media planning and buying has been handed to the OMD network. UK media was previously handled by MediaVest with creative by BMB. VTech spent £500,000 through the two agencies last year.

"While global marketing is not a new concept, it's one that few companies in the developmental learning category can embrace," the VTech group chief executive, Dennis Perry, said.

"VTech is uniquely qualified to do this, due in large part to our extensive network of subsidiaries and distributors around the globe. The combination of Merkley and TBWA exemplifies VTech's strategic focus and commitment to global advertising."

VTech, which was founded by a US entrepreneur and two Hong Kong engineers in 1978, is the US market leader in electronic learning aids and has enjoyed free rein over the sector since the launch of its seminal Wizard game in 1981. However, the company has recently faced competition from a new arrival, Leap Frog, and its Leap Pad range.

A TV and print campaign will break across Europe in the autumn.

"VTech is an excellent addition to our technology credentials," the TBWA chief executive, Garry Lace, said. "It is a rapidly growing sector and it is great to be working with the premier company in the electronic learning market."

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