Admiral opens talks with media agencies

LONDON - The financial services company Admiral Insurance is in talks with agencies about its £5m media planning and buying account.

The insurance giant owns several different brands, including Diamond, Admiral and Elephant.co.uk. The online motor insurer Elephant.co.uk is a regular feature on daytime television schedules. However, Diamond, which targets women drivers, and Admiral, which is targeted at young urbanites, both spend a large proportion of their advertising budgets on outdoor advertising.

The account is shared by the McCutcheon Norveil Consultancy and the small independent TCS Media, but Admiral has instructed the AAR to review its existing agency arrangements. David Crawley, the former media controller at Scottish Courage, is also assisting the company with its media strategy.

In an apparent change of focus, it is understood that the AAR has invited submissions from a selection of the larger UK media networks.

Creative for Admiral Insurance is handled by a combination of an in-house team and Inferno, which won a place on the roster at the beginning of the year.

Elephant.co.uk's television advertising features a tap dancer dressed up in an elephant costume, while the Admiral campaigns use actors dressed up as senior naval officers. Actors who have featured in the advertising include the former EastEnders actor Ross Davidson.

Last month, Barclays Private Equity sold its stake in Admiral Insurance to HBOS and Lloyds TSB for £80m. It had been an investor in the insurance company since backing a management buy-out of the company from Brockbank Group in 1999. This disposal has resulted in to speculation that Admiral Insurance is preparing for a flotation.

Under the stewardship of Barclays Private Equity, the insurer increased sales from £200m to £370m and its staff levels have grown from 1,200 to 1,450.

Last year, the Cardiff-based company grew its customer base by 18% and recorded profits of £27.4m. Much of this success can be attributed to elephant.co.uk, which was the UK's first internet car insurer.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.