MARKETING TECHNIQUE: TOP SALES PROMOTION AGENCIES - International/Overseas development. Growing client interest in international campaigns has spurred many UK agencies to look more seriously at expanding into at least European sectors, if not beyond Ken G

McCanns’ recent takeover of Barnett Fletcher Promotions has the declared aim of making the UK company a launch pad for a European network of ’experiential’ agencies - specialists in event marketing and sales promotion.

McCanns’ recent takeover of Barnett Fletcher Promotions has the

declared aim of making the UK company a launch pad for a European

network of ’experiential’ agencies - specialists in event marketing and

sales promotion.

Tracy Lovatt has been moved in by McCanns as MD. Chairman Barnett

Fletcher says: ’Our task now is to replicate what we do in 30 countries

across Europe.’

A similar motive lay behind the merger earlier in the year of field

marketing specialist FMCG with Canadian-based below-the-line group


Meanwhile, Tequila Option One, part of the GGT/BDDP group, is opening

overseas offices at a phenomenal rate on the back of existing overseas

ad agencies. It has 12 overseas branches and plans to open eight more in

the coming year.

Being able to offer a global, or at least a European, capability is

clearly on the agenda again. And, obviously, agencies don’t make this

kind of commitment without a belief that it is what clients want. In

Tequila’s case, as business development manager William Corke

acknowledges, the expansion has been driven by the requirements of one

of its top clients, Rothman.

What’s interesting, however, is the view that clients’ reasons for

looking at sales promotion internationally are changing. John Quarrey,

chief executive of IMP, which works for Coca-Cola and Phillips, argues

that five years ago the motivation was saving money: ’Now it’s about how

can they have consistently good ideas.’

’Sales promotion is no longer a thing for the junior brand manager to

play with,’ says Jon Claydon, a founding director of Claydon Heeley.

’Clients who have reduced their European ad agency roster to three are

asking themselves why they need 62 below-the-line agencies.

’It can be desperately complicated. Pan-European advertising is

difficult enough, but in our field there are not only cultural

questions, but very different legal requirements across the


Quarrey claims that his agency is being approached by growing numbers of

companies keen to investigate how to deliver below-the-line programmes

across Europe. The IMP network ’is invaluable in delivering this,

because no matter how good you are in coming up with great ideas, it is

still pretty difficult to understand what someone in Moldova thinks,

versus someone in Spain.’

WPP subsidiary Promotional Campaigns is the other SP consultancy with a

major international network, thanks to its group links with Ogilvy &


Apart from offices under its own name in most of the major European

countries, plus Hong Kong and Australia, it is formalising its

affiliation with Einson Freeman in the US. This is another WPP offshoot,

with which it successfully pitched for the IBM account.

KLP also reports a growing client interest in international


It has developed the Ballantine Urban High programme for Allied Domecq

across Europe and the Far East, and has also been appointed recently to

work for Coca-Cola in Brazil.

’We had previously worked in Brazil, and we were asked to pitch against

the incumbent, plus some US competition,’ says chairman Iain


’So now we have KLP people working in Brazil, in the Coca-Cola


Similarly, The Marketing Store’s first European toehold is in General

Motors’ Swiss office. But with demand growing ’by the day’, chairman

Graham Kemp says it is ’only a question of time’ before he expands


Promotional Campaigns’ managing director Debbie Smith confirms that

there is renewed client interest in international networks. But she says

that a lot of it is coming either out of communications or trade and

business-to-business budgets, rather than consumer promotions, because

of the legal complexities. One exception to this is the spin-off from

global sponsorships, such as IBM’s involvement with the Olympics.