Axa appoints JWT to take over new £23m unified ad business

The French insurance giant Axa has appointed J. Walter Thompson to its £23 million creative advertising account following a final head-to-head battle against BMP DDB.

TBWA/London had held Axa's £1.5 million corporate account but was put on alert in January as Axa announced its intention to hold a winner-takes-all pitch across its three divisions.

The initial longlist of agencies pitching for the account saw TBWA, Publicis, BMP, WFCA Integrated, HHM and JWT present.

JWT is now tasked with developing a unified advertising strategy across Axa PPP Healthcare, Axa Insurance and Axa Sun Life.

"BMP and JWT were both very strong, but the selection team felt JWT was the right choice for brand development going forward. We want to unite further the Axa brands," Darrin Nightingale, the head of brand at Axa UK, said. "I am just as interested in the development of a three-year strategic plan for Axa as I am in developing new advertising."

He added that the company had worked closely with ISBA to gather agency recommendations and develop the shortlist.

JWT has been appointed on a rolling contract and will take over the account immediately. However, Nightingale said the scope of the strategic groundwork was such that the first advertising would not appear until the tail-end of this year.

A review of the media planning and buying account, held by OMD Connect, was launched through Media Audits in March, but was abandoned following a renegotiation of terms with the incumbent.