BT kicks off global pitch

St Luke's under threat as BT seeks global partner for business-to-business brief.

St Luke's is being forced to defend BT, its biggest-billing client, following news that the telecoms giant is approaching agencies about its £17 million business-to-business account.

BT's business-to-business brief accounts for nearly half of St Luke's total £40 million billings. St Luke's is expected to repitch for the business.

The telecoms company is using the AAR to handle the pitch, which is due before the end of the year. The process is still at longlist stage.

The brief is to handle BT's business brands on a global basis, something that could put international networks in a stronger position than the domestic St Luke's.

St Luke's has worked on the BT account since 1999. Its most recent campaign, called "digital network", features a virtual world where people move through the air.

This was part of the assignment St Luke's won in March 2005 to promote BT's information communication technology strategy to consumers. This includes several BT services beyond its core voice technology, such as networking businesses and CRM capability.

The review follows the pitch held earlier this year for BT's consumer account. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which held the lion's share, pitched against St Luke's and Fallon.

AMV went on to win the whole £40 million business, which included the creation of a "unified, single mega-campaign" for the brand. It also picked up St Luke's 118 500 BT directory enquiries account, leaving St Luke's with just the business-to-business brief. Fallon withdrew before the result was announced.

The review is not thought to affect BT's media agencies.

No-one at BT or St Luke's was available for comment.