Michaelides & Bednash has wrested the media planning for First
Direct from the incumbent of eight years, New PHD.
First Direct was a founder client of the former Pattison Horswell Durden
and one of the brands upon which the agency built its reputation as a
creative media hotshop. PHD, which merged with the media department of
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO last year to form New PHD, has handled all of
the virtual bank’s media planning and buying since it launched in
However, the bank is now expanding its agency roster in a bid to inject
new thinking into its marketing communications. M&B will work on the
pounds 9 million account alongside New PHD and the bank’s creative
agency, WCRS. M&B will handle strategy and planning, with New PHD
looking after media negotiations and buying.
Mike Phillipson, the brand communications manager of First Direct,
confirmed that New PHD would now handle only buying and said M&B would
commence work on the account straight away.
He added: ’We’re very happy to have them on board.’
M&B’s appointment is designed to help give the bank an added commercial
edge in what is now a cluttered telephone banking market, with many of
the high-street banks operating their own telephone services.
First Direct, a division of Midland Bank, was one of the first brands to
enter the telephone banking market. Because the outfit has no retail
outlet, its visibility through advertising is crucial.
Graham Bednash, a partner at M&B, said: ’First Direct are innovators and
so are we. It’s a great fit.’
Jonathan Durden, a New PHD managing partner, said the shop would still
do some planning on the business, working alongside M&B. He referred to
M&B as ’a refresher consultant’, adding: ’We will work as a team.’
The First Direct coup follows a number of blue-chip wins by M&B over the
past year, including the Cable & Wireless Communications pounds 50