HHCL & Partners could lose its £9.5 million AA account if it
fails to see eye-to-eye with the AA's owner, Centrica, about the
strategic future of the brand.
The AA is meeting with HHCL, which has held the account for more than
seven years, to discuss plans for future advertising. The agency is
thought to have been told that if its ideas do not match those of the
AA, then the account will be put up for pitch.
Centrica's group marketing director, Simon Waugh, is not believed to be
unhappy with work from HHCL, but said the company's plans to revitalise
the brand might mean that the account will change hands.
Recent AA television ads feature a stressed-out couple bickering about
their insurance needs, as well as the roadside assistance spots
featuring a man who meets a former girlfriend when her car breaks down
and she calls the AA.
The most recent campaign for roadside help adopted a more aggressive
approach, and the spots featured a crying teenager and her mother
lamenting the fact she had not joined the AA.
Centrica bought the AA in 1999 to join its British Gas and Goldfish
banking and utilities arms, and is also planning to launch a mobile
phone service, giving members access to the wealth of information it
The possible review comes as the AA's marketing departments for
financial services, breakdown, e-commerce and publishing are merged to
prevent any further dilution of the core brand.