Carat, which held the business until it moved to MindShare two years ago, beat MindShare, Universal McCann and OMD UK.
The final stage of the pitch took place on Friday, when the remaining agencies submitted pricing proposals online. Eight agencies had initially presented to Abbey amid reports that some of the longlisted shops were unhappy about the online element, following strategy presentations.
Carat will work for Abbey and its online brand Cahoot. Its appointment follows a series of changes at Abbey since its acquisition by Grupo Santander last November. It recently appointed WCRS as its ad agency, replacing TBWA\ London. MindShare was reappointed to Abbey's £8 million online planning and buying.
MindShare had won the business in 2003 following a pitch process led by Abbey's then chief executive, Luqman Arnold. Arnold, who had also appointed TBWA\London, has since left the business.
Neil Jones, the managing director of Carat, worked on the Abbey account for ten years before its decision to move to MindShare. He said: "To me, it feels like the business has returned to its spiritual home. It's a client we have a great deal of affinity with."
- Media forum, page 8
Jeremy Davies, the director of brand and communications at Abbey, said: "The review was aimed at getting better value by bringing together the spend of Abbey and Cahoot. We've undergone major changes to our brand and advertising since the beginning of this year and now we need a fresh approach to getting the best value from our media planning and buying. We look forward to working with Carat to support these changes."