WH Smith is understood to be holding talks with three mainstream
advertising agencies about its pounds 8 million above-the-line
WH Smith’s agency of record since 1996, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, was
unaware of the talks. Last year the retailer, which has 700 outlets,
spent more than pounds 8 million through AMV.
The agency talks are said to be at a very early stage.
Like many retailers WH Smith, which has suffered a declining share price
this year, is facing tight trading conditions on the high street and is
said to be investigating all its options.
However, a WH Smith spokeswoman denied that the company has been
approaching agencies. Cilla Snowball, the managing director of AMV,
said: ’As far as we’re concerned we have a fantastic relationship with
WH Smith. We’re very active on plans for the future.’
The company recently entered a high-profile deal with Carlton
Communications, whereby the media owner will supply the retailer with
pounds 15 million worth of free advertising airtime as part of an
e-commerce joint venture (Campaign, 24 March).
WH Smith’s share price has slumped over the past year from a 52-week
high of 792.5p to 373p. It suffered a 6 per cent fall in music and video
sales in the 12 months to 31 August, 1999.
Before AMV, the retailer used Bartle Bogle Hegarty for five years and
DMB&B for 20 years. The media account is held by Starcom Motive.
AMV launched the Nicholas Lyndhurst campaign, which is still running,
when it won the account. The ads feature Lyndhurst - famous as Rodney in
the series Only Fools and Horses - dressed up as members of the ’Smith’
family. They use the strapline, ’Whatever you’re into, get into WH