M&B nets First Direct planning task

Michaelides & Bednash has wrested the media planning for First Direct from the incumbent of eight years, New PHD.

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

million launch.

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