New business remains sluggish, AAR says

The advertising recovery has yet to result in a significant increase in UK new business, according to the AAR.

There were 198 creative account moves in the first half of 2004 compared with 193 during the same period of 2003.

Martin Jones, the director of advertising at the AAR, said: "The advertising market has undoubtedly seen a rise in levels of confidence. However, this has principally been caused by increased spending by existing clients and has yet to be reflected in the new business market."

The majority of pitches - 60 per cent - were open to non-roster agencies, while 14 per cent of pitches involved only roster agencies and 18 per cent of advertisers appointed without a pitch.

The remaining assignments were either a mix of roster and non-roster agency pitches or new assignments.

Incumbent agencies were invited to repitch in just 31 per cent of reviews while, in 63 per cent of cases, the incumbent was not retained, according to the AAR.

It said that despite HSBC's appointment of WPP on a global basis, large reviews in the UK were "few and far between". The AAR cited Camelot moving to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and 3 appointing WCRS as two of the most significant moves.

The retail sector accounted for the greatest proportion of new-business moves, 9.5 per cent compared with 8.3 per cent for the same period the previous year.

Financial services, historically the largest reviewer, dropped to fourth place with a 6.7 per cent share of the total reviews, compared with 10.4 per cent in 2003.

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