Publicis is gearing up for a head-to-head battle against
McCann-Erickson for its pounds 5 million Mastercard creative account in
Sources close to the business say the UK account has been under threat
since Mastercard ditched Publicis and appointed McCann-Erickson to
handle the brand in France last month.
The two agencies are understood to be lining up to pitch next month in
the UK and a decision is expected shortly afterwards.
Media planning and buying, held by the Publicis group agency, Optimedia,
is not thought to be affected by the review.
McCann already handles Mastercard in the US and has been steadily
picking up Mastercard business across Europe in recent months, following
the success of its ’price less’ campaign in America. The agency was
awarded the German account last July and won the business in Switzerland
In February, Europay International appointed the McCann network to
handle a pan-European advertising campaign to support Mastercard’s
sponsorship of the next European Football Championships, Euro 2000. All
Mastercard’s football sponsorship had previously been handled by
Publicis, which produced TV campaigns supporting the client’s
sponsorship of Euro 96 and of last year’s World Cup in France.
Publicis won the Mastercard account in the UK in 1994 and was appointed
a year later to handle all UK advertising connected with its sponsorship
of world championship football for four years.
In 1996, Mastercard called a review after its merger with Access, but
Publicis retained the account after pitching against Ammirati Puris
Lintas, DMB&B and Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper.
McCann won the pounds 50 million Mastercard business in the US in July
1997 after the incumbent, APL, fell out with the client over
The latest UK branding campaign created by Publicis began running in
1997 with the strapline, ’We’re in your corner’, and was designed to
show that Mastercard can help buy the experience of a lifetime. The
first two commercials featured a man with a pink Cadillac and a retired
woman going shopping in Manhattan.
No-one at McCann, Publicis or Mastercard was available for comment.