It’s undeniably tough on Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to lose the National Lottery account after so many years of consistently hard-working work. And undoubtedly a brave call by Camelot’s top marketing brass Richard Bateson and Benj Kaye. But, in the final analysis, is any agency better suited to handling a business whose advertising is based around selling the dream of making people millionaires than an agency that has created so many millionaires of its own?
It also comes as a very healthy dollop of consolation to A&E/DDB after having seen its Virgin Atlantic account move to AMV just shortly after the shock discovery that its Harvey Nichols business, for which the agency has quite rightly won multiple creative awards, was also out. The agency learned of its sacking following a phone call from the new marketing director to its account handler – another example of marketers behaving less than well, following Moneysupermarket.com’s split with Mother London.
Quite what advertising will be forthcoming from Harvey Nichols’ new home at TBWA\London we’ll have to wait and see, but sadly those beautiful blockbuster films by A&E/DDB look to be a thing of the past. Hopefully it’ll not revert to shots of pouty models holding handbags that the high-end fashion sector seems to find the path of least resistance.
But back to National Lottery. In terms of billings and prestige, this hefty win more than makes up for the recent blips that some pre-emptively interpreted as the wheels beginning to come lose on the A&E/DDB machine, following the announcement that one its founders – the creative supremo Ben Priest – was stepping down from the agency. David Golding and James Murphy, the two remaining founders, are said to have led the pitch, showing the wisdom of keeping them on, even if they could have quite happily departed to spend time enjoying their money, Hector Riva-style.
While Camelot has its own business problems and structural issues to resolve prompting the pitch in the first place, the strategic and creative route that A&E/DDB took that led it to win the pitch remains under wraps and I can’t wait to see it. While acknowledging that AMV deserves real credit for its brand stewardship on this nationally-important brand for the past 15 years, hopefully A&E/DDB will have pulled out something spectacular to fit the brief of "promoting a more unified and overarching parent brand" it was given and justify the risk in moving it out of its old, rather comfy, home. I wouldn’t bet against the agency delivering in spades.
Jeremy Lee is a contributing editor at Campaign