Carat International has won the oil giant TotalFinaElf's £40
million pan-European media account ahead of the conglomerate's
continent-wide rebranding drive.
The agency would not confirm or deny that it had won the business and it
is understood that a contract has still to be signed. However, Carat has
been left as the sole negotiating agency after a pitch against
Initiative Media and Media Planning Group.
The appointment of Carat comes four months after the BBDO network beat
Grey Worldwide, TBWA, Euro RSCG and the french agency devarrieuxvillaret
to land the European creative account, with Miles Calcraft Briginshaw
Duffy picking up the business in the UK. Carat and BBDO have been given
the job of rebranding the company as Total after a decision earlier this
year to unite the Franco-Belgian group under a single brand name.
The shake-up in marketing strategy was precipitated by TotalFina's hotly
contested £55 billion takeover of Elf Aquitaine in 1999.
TotalFinaElf has previously had a limited ad presence in the UK, working
with Marketing Drive and BJK&E on a project-by-project basis and holding
back from advertising on TV. The UK operation of TotalFinaElf had
planned a television campaign through BJK&E and Marketing Drive last
year but the ads were put on hold with the issuing of the rebranding
brief. BJK&E did not repitch.
The rebranding comes at a time when petrol companies are increasingly
turning to TV in an attempt to patch up their public image.
TotalFinaElf, which is the UK's fifth-largest petrol supplier, is
expected to increase its spend significantly in the UK as it attempts to
forge a new identity. However, the bulk of the pan-European spend will
be concentrated in Paris, where the conglomerate is strongest.