AMV takes over £24m Camelot ad business

Camelot, the National Lottery operator, has appointed Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to its £24 million above-the-line creative account.

AMV won the business, which was handled by the AAR, after a five-way pitch against DDB London, TBWA\London, Clemmow Hornby Inge and Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners. The incumbent, WCRS, declined to participate.

The veteran creative chief Alfredo Marcantonio, a former vice-chairman at AMV, was called in to review proceedings before the final agency selection was made.

AMV had been tipped as the frontrunner to pick up the account after winning the £4 million campaign to launch Camelot's pan-European game, EuroMillions, last year.

The pitch was overseen by a Camelot team including the chief executive, Dianne Thompson, and the commercial director, Phil Smith.

Camelot has denied speculation that the actress Whoopi Goldberg is to star in the ads. Although the lottery operator has not ruled out the possibility of using celebrities, the new campaign will not be "celebrity driven".

Smith said: "The National Lottery is one of the best- known brands in Britain. Around 70 per cent of the adult population still play at least one of our games on a regular basis. The launch of EuroMillions, together with the tenth anniversary of the National Lottery, means 2004 will be a milestone for Camelot. We look forward to working closely with AMV to create iconic advertising and build on the rock solid sales achieved throughout 2003."

Sales for the UK's main lottery have remained steady after a steep decline, despite attempts to raise its profile through a series of ads by WCRS focusing on the good done by the lottery funds.

A campaign starring Billy Connolly also failed to create an impression and was scrapped.

Media planning and buying for Camelot will continue to be handled by the Media Planning Group and OMD.