A head-to-head contest for Sainsbury’s pounds 43 million account is
set for the autumn after M&C Saatchi this week broke Abbott Mead Vickers
BBDO’s 20-year hold on the business by landing its television
The crunch will come as supermarket bosses review their decision to make
AMV pay the price for the failure of the John Cleese ’value to shout
about’ campaign in a dramatic bid to bounce back from disappointing
M&C Saatchi’s tenure of the business is for a trial period and the
agency’s work will be scrutinised in October or November, when
Sainsbury’s will decide whether all of its advertising should be handled
by a single agency or whether the dual arrangement could continue.
In the meantime, Sainsbury’s decision to bring in M&C Saatchi - as
predicted exclusively by Campaign in February - presents AMV with the
huge dilemma of either resigning the remaining business or staying on
board in the hope of winning it all back.
This week AMV senior executives were understood to be seeking a meeting
with Kevin McCarten, the Sainsbury’s marketing director, to win
assurances that there will be a level playing field when the company
reviews its new arrangement.
AMV is said to acknowledge that the Cleese campaign was ill-judged, but
believes that Sainsbury’s problems are not due exclusively to its
advertising and that the agency should be judged on the basis of two
decades of outstanding work.
Sainsbury’s is believed to be reluctant to burn its boats with AMV while
M&C Saatchi remains untested and before it can be sure that the agency’s
TV work has long-term potential.
The splitting of the account - news of which broke on CampaignLive on
Friday - culminates the ’Trojan horse’ strategy of M&C Saatchi since it
won the launch of Sainsbury’s banking at the end of 1996.
The turning point was M&C Saatchi’s appointment last year to carry out
an internal staff motivation project.
The agency produced three films which, although not intended for
broadcast, were shot by a commercials director and were highly praised
by Sainsbury’s managers.
The films are said to take a ’lifestyle’ approach.