Lowe beats Mother to hang on to £7m Surf creative role

Lowe has retained the £7 million Surf washing powder account after a shoot-out against its fellow Lever Faberge roster agency Mother.

Although Lowe holds the Surf account throughout Europe, Mother was invited to present ideas early last month. The agency also works on the Unilever brands Batchelors Super Noodles and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

Having held on to the account, Lowe will now help Lever Faberge attempt to push the brand into third place in the washing powder market. Currently, Unilever's Persil and Procter & Gamble's Ariel brands lead the market, with Surf, Fairy, Bold and Daz competing for third place.

Daz has recently embarked on its own drive for increased market share, ditching its long-running doorstep challenge campaign in favour of soap opera-themed ads created by Leo Burnett.

Lever Faberge refused to say how it will respond to this but it is believed the marketing strategy for Surf will undergo a similar overhaul, following suggestions that its most recent ad campaign, which featured a man deliberately staining people's clothes, had under-performed.

The brand's most famous ads of recent years featured the Birds of a Feather stars Pauline Quirk and Linda Robson. The Lowe campaign won an IPA Effectiveness award in 2000.

The retention will come as a welcome boost to Lowe. Its relationship with Unilever is crucial in the wake of last year's loss of several key accounts. The agency currently also handles Cif, Domestos and Sure.