M&C Saatchi on alert as Dixons calls pitch

The parent group of Currys and PC World rethinks 25-year relationship with the incumbent in £50 million ad review.

Dixons: M&C Saatchi will automatically be put through to the strategic stage with three agencies
Dixons: M&C Saatchi will automatically be put through to the strategic stage with three agencies

Dixons Retail, the owner of Currys and PC World, is reviewing its £50 million UK advertising account for the first time in 25 years, putting the incumbent, M&C Saatchi, on alert.

Six to eight agencies will be invited to submit credentials today (Thursday) in the first step of a process planned to last three to four months.

M&C Saatchi will be put through to a strategic pitch stage with three other agencies, before two are chosen for a final creative pitch.

Dixons was a founding client of M&C Saatchi in 1995 and was previously a client of Saatchi & Saatchi from 1988.

The Dixons procurement team is handling the review. It follows positive financial results for the group, with underlying pre-tax profits for the UK and Ireland up 39 per cent in the year to April.

A Dixons spokeswoman said the results represented "significant progress against the group’s strategic priorities and strong market share gains".

She added: "Following this success, the group wishes to maximise opportunities for growth and engage with our customers in a new way, and feels this is a good time to identify potential alternatives in the marketplace."

The consumer brands that advertise in the UK are Currys, PC World and Knowhow, the group’s support and installation service.

Dixons spent £46.8 million on advertising in the 12 months to date, according to Nielsen.

In 2012, Currys and PC World launched the animated "we can help" campaign, created by M&C Saatchi, that highlighted the expertise of its staff in a futuristic setting.

In 2010, the agency’s "the last place you want to go" work for Dixons.co.uk was named the most-awarded print campaign of the year by The Gunn Report.

The M&C Saatchi-owned Walker Media, which runs Dixons’ media account, is not affected by the review.

Dixons-branded shops were removed from the high street in 2006 and rebranded as Currys Digital.

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