Evening Standard up for review

Associated Newspapers invites five agencies to pitch for its embattled London title's £10m ad account.

Associated Newspapers has called a pitch of its £10 million Evening Standard account in an attempt to reverse the newspaper's falling sales and beat competition from the London freesheets.

The Evening Standard is currently holding chemistry meetings with five agencies, including the incumbent, The Law Firm.

Agencies will be asked for ideas on how the newspaper can position itself as the quality alternative to News International's thelondonpaper and Associated's own London Lite.

The pitch is through the AAR, and will be overseen by the Evening Standard's marketing director, Andy Mullins, who was appointed in April.

The Law Firm, which also holds Associated's £22 million Daily Mail account, was handed the Evening Standard in controversial circumstances last November, when the Associated editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, decided to consolidate the business.

His decision came despite a round of pitches that saw Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and TBWA\London shortlisted for the account. It is understood that none of the three agencies will pitch for the business this time around.

The review comes as the Evening Standard grapples with falling sales. April figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations show a year-on-year decline of 15.7 per cent to an average circulation of 266,214.