AXA puts £30m media up for pitch

AXA, the world's second-largest insurance company, is putting its £30 million UK media account up for pitch.

The French-owned company has instructed Media Audits to review the UK account, and to analyse AXA's European media arrangements. The auditing account was previously with Billetts.

It is expected the whole of the UK account will be centralised into one agency network, although it is not known if a review of the European account will follow.

The news follows AXA's decision to review its advertising account out of TBWA/ London for the second time in the past year (Campaign, 17 January).

In the UK, AXA includes the AXA Sun Life, AXA Insurance and AXA PPP healthcare brands.

The bulk of the media account is held by TBWA's sister Omnicom agency, OMD. OMD runs the account in a joint venture with WWAV Rapp Collins called OMD Connect. MediaCom handles the £8 million AXA Sun Life Direct business, which it won last November. OMD Connect, via Optimum Action, has held the rest of the business since August 2000, following an 11-month media review.

AXA spent £15 million last year, according to Nielsen Media Research, but agencies have been informed that a budget of £30 million is attached to the centralised brief.

A spokesman for AXA said: "Although we look at contracts from time to time, we are not at this stage reviewing the media account."

AXA has sponsored the FA Cup for the past four years. However, it was beaten by Nationwide in a £35 million deal running over four years to be the Football Association's sole financial partner.