NatWest bank is reviewing its pounds 50 million-plus above- and
below-the-line business as it considers pooling the account into a
The bank has approached at least two major non-roster shops to vie for
the business alongside its mainstream agencies, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and
Ammirati Puris Lintas. The presentations will take place within the next
NatWest has eight agencies on its roster: BBH handles the TV business;
APL handles corporate press and posters; the bank’s specialist agencies
are DMB&B Financial, Hamilton Wright, Holder Henry Pearce & Bailey,
Minale Tattersfield & Partners, Smith & Milton and Sth Stretch the
The review follows the appointment of McKinsey & Company, the management
consultancy, which is investigating all processes within NatWest,
including supplier relationships.
The pitching agencies have been asked to consider how they would handle
an account of this size. Media planning and buying - which is with
Motive Communications - is unaffected by the review.
Ian Schoolar, NatWest’s head of brand communications, confirmed the
review but tried to play down its significance. ’We are looking at ways
of gaining more brand consistency and obviously the way to do this is to
use fewer agencies.’
However, he admitted: ’We have not done anything like this for a long
time, not since BBH was appointed. Before that it was all over the place
and even TV was split between about five agencies.’
Schoolar conceded it was feasible that NatWest would finish the review
process by plumping for just one agency. ’That is why we are doing the
review. It’s theoretically possible,’ he said.
BBH won NatWest’s lead agency status in 1990, with a brief to create
brand-building TV and print work. However, in 1996 it suffered a blow
when NatWest appointed APL to handle print.
BBH’s soap-opera-style branding campaign, based on the fictional Canning
family, is expected to disappear during the review.
William Eccleshare, APL’s chief executive, and John Bartle, BBH’s joint
chief executive, declined to comment on the review.