Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has reinforced its role in the fight against smoking with its appointment as lead creative agency on Nicorette's pounds 35 million global account.
The New Jersey headquarters of Pharmacia & Upjohn, which manufactures Nicorette nicotine gum, patches and inhalers, confirmed on Wednesday morning that AMV had been picked to handle creative work for all markets outside the US.
The selection of AMV follows a contest also involving the incumbent, BMP DDB, and Saatchi & Saatchi, which were invited to pitch on behalf of their respective networks.
The assignment complements AMV's work on the Government's initiative to persuade millions of British smokers to kick the habit, to which ministers have committed pounds 50 million over a three-year period. Previously, the agency handled the Health Education Council's anti-smoking campaign.
BHWG Proximity, the AMV group subsidiary, will handle direct marketing and online activity for the brand although the media account remains with Zenith Media.
Michael Baulk, the AMV chairman, said: 'Our 17 years of anti-smoking experience was a telling advantage. It has given us important insights into the psychology of smokers.'
However, the Nicorette account and the Government's anti-smoking campaign will be run separately within AMV. No data will be shared between the Nicorette team headed by Andrew Robertson, the chief executive, who led the pitch alongside Peter Souter, the executive creative director, and the COI team under Cilla Snowball, the agency's managing director.
Robertson said: 'It's important to keep the teams separate to stop anybody drawing any unreasonable conclusions and ensure one account isn't compromised by the other. In fact, both are significant but different pieces of business. One is about getting people to stop smoking, the other is about encouraging people to use more Nicorette.'
Souter is understood to have come up with a creative idea capable of running in all Nicorette's key markets including the UK and Sweden, where sales are strongest, as well as potentially profitable areas such as Japan and Australia. 'It will take Nicorette into a whole different place,' Robertson added.
A TV campaign is expected to break pre-Christmas and run up to the time when new-year resolutions are made.