Media Lifeline: Advertising The Independent

After much vacillation, could The Independent's advertising account end up back at Lowe?

May 1998: Having acquired full control of The Independent back in March, Tony O'Reilly's Independent News and Media had put the creative account immediately up for grabs. Lowe Howard-Spink prevails, following a pitch also involving Grey, Arc Advertising, Walsh Trott Chick Smith and Griffin Bacal.

November 1998: But Lowe's tenure is shortlived. It resigns the account when rumours begin circulating that the publisher is already back in talks with rival agencies, including the losing pitch finalist Walsh Trott Chick Smith. As Lowe accuses the newspaper of lacking direction and not knowing what it really wants, the account is handed unceremoniously to Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper.

April 2001: Euro fails to please, despite the creative director Mark Wnek's friendship with The Indie's editor, Simon Kelner (pictured). Euro resigns the account, which is handed to Walsh Trott Chick Smith. Two weeks later, the paper's marketing director, Trish Wadley, leaves.

October 2003: Walsh Trott Chick Smith's finest hour, as far as The Independent is concerned, is a £3 million TV-led campaign for the relaunch of the daily as a tabloid, beginning in October 2003. But as the paper seeks to consolidate its revival, there's a steady stream of branding work, notably the "Indypedia" work in 2006, underlining the paper's intellectual credentials and politically unaligned stance.

November 2007: But all things must pass - and CST (formerly Chick Smith Trott, the successor agency to Walsh Trott Chick Smith) considers its position when it learns that The Independent intends holding a creative pitch and will seek to shortlist four agencies before making a decision before the end of the year. Digital is expected to be a major factor where the brief is concerned.

Fast forward ...

April 2008: Following Wnek's (pictured) move to head the London agency, Lowe is handed the account before Christmas. But all hell breaks loose when Wnek, standing in for The Indie's ad columnist, writes an ill-advised comment about his ex-colleague Ben Langdon.