Angry agencies issue TfL with legal warning

The agencies involved in the Transport for London pitch are

threatening legal action after the organisation announced it was handing

its congestion charges and transport services briefs to M&C Saatchi.



TfL had told agencies that there would be a separate pitch, to be held

next week, for the account to raise awareness of the London mayor Ken

Livingstone's proposed congestion charges. It said on Monday, however,

that it is appointing M&C Saatchi in order to reduce its advertising

costs.



Two of the agencies that were to pitch for the congestion charges brief

are considering contacting their lawyers. WCRS, BMP DDB, D'Arcy and Euro

RSCG Wnek Gosper also planned to pitch for the account.



M&C Saatchi successfully pitched for the TfL corporate account, which

covers advertising for services such as the tube and buses, against Leo

Burnett, McCann-Erickson and the incumbent, Partners BDDH. TfL is

expected to spend £18 million in total on publicising transport

services and the congestion charge.



Despite the controversy surrounding the appointment, Moray MacLennan,

the joint chief executive of M&C Saatchi, is sure of the account.

"There's always controversy when we win business," he said, in reference

to the agency's reputation for cronyism.



One agency source said: "TfL is all over the place in its communications

strategy. It has not thought through its plans at all. It has failed to

prepare the ground for congestion charging and is now scampering around

like a headless chicken.



"The agencies spent a lot of time and energy on their pitches. TfL

should have handed the job to M&C Saatchi in the first place."



The agencies said they were given assurances by TfL that there would be

a separate pitch and had already started work on presentations.



Last week, TfL awarded media planning and buying for both briefs to

PHD.



It was clear from the start of the media pitch process that just one

agency would be appointed.



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