McCann triumphs in pounds 12m Esso fight

McCann-Erickson has ended its barren new-business spell in spectacular fashion by scooping Esso’s pounds 12 million full-service UK account.

McCann-Erickson has ended its barren new-business spell in

spectacular fashion by scooping Esso’s pounds 12 million full-service UK

account.



The agency heard this week that it had beaten the odds by being awarded

the business - in tandem with its media dependant, Universal McCann -

ahead of Leo Burnett, Ammirati Puris Lintas and Bartle Bogle

Hegarty.



The decision reunites the McCanns agency in London with a client it

handled for 63 years until J. Walter Thompson won it in 1991.



David Warden, the chairman of McCanns, and Ben Langdon, his managing

director, are understood to have been under heavy pressure from network

chiefs to win back the Esso UK account which JWT resigned when it was

appointed the sole European agency for Shell (Campaign, 17 January).



McCanns has a huge emotional attachment to Esso, which was its first

account when it set up in 1911, and which it handles in almost every

country around the world apart from a few South American markets.



Senior Esso managers in the UK are believed to have been initially

unenthusiastic about renewing the relationship. Warden commented: ’It is

common knowledge that we had some historical baggage to shed from last

time and we didn’t go into the pitch as the favourite.’



The win will be a huge boost to Langdon, who has provoked much

controversy through his radical restructuring of the agency since his

arrival last summer. He led the pitch with Trista Grant, the managing

director of Universal McCann, alongside him.



Warden said: ’We had a very clear long-term strategy to present to

Esso.



The win comes at a perfect time for us because it’s the first

vindication of the changes Ben and I have made at the agency.’



John Adkins, Esso’s divisional director for retail, praised the quality

and depth of all the agency presentations and added: ’The decision was

always going to be a difficult one.’



The agency’s brief is to help Esso hold its own in a ferocious petrol

war, in which the oil giants have been savaged by competition from

supermarkets.



Esso has struck back through its Pricewatch campaign under which it

pledges to match, but not undercut, its lowest price competitors. The

result has been to keep UK pump prices among the lowest in Europe.