An AMV BBDO advertising supplement: AMV victorious in fight for WH Smith creative AMV

10 May, 1996

10 May, 1996

W. H. Smith has chosen Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to handle its pounds 11

million creative advertising account.

The decision closes a turbulent chapter in W. H. Smith’s advertising

history, which began with the sacking of the incumbent, Bartle Bogle

Hegarty, two years ago, continued with its reinstatement and ended with

BBH resigning the account in February.

Michael Baulk, the chief executive of Abbott Mead, said the win would

not cause a conflict with Sainsbury’s, one of the agency’s key


Baulk also said that media would remain with BBH’s media arm,


Baulk said: ’It is a major brand opportunity for us and an opportunity

for famous advertising for W. H. Smith. It’s one of those situations

where a brand and a business can benefit from a famous advertising


The pitch process started in March when four agencies - Abbott Mead,

Saatchi & Saatchi, BMP DDB and Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters - were asked

to come up with big advertising ideas that could be applied to each of

the key phases in W. H. Smith’s year - ’back to school’, ’Christmas’ and

so on.

This list was later whittled down to two, with Abbott Mead and Duckworth

Finn both presenting to senior management last week. At the same time,

each agency’s pitch ideas were put into research, with the Abbott Mead

ideas proving to be the most successful.

The W. H. Smith account became free earlier this year when BBH resigned

the business after failing to reach agreement with the retailer over its

strategy. BBH handled the business since 1991 taking over from DMB&B,

which had run the account for more than 20 years.

AMV’s work for W. H. Smith, which featured the actor, Nicholas

Lyndhurst, playing four members of a family, proved to be hugely

popular, regularly winning Campaign’s People’s Jury choice.

In 1997, viewers voted the series their favourite ad.

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