Armando Testa, Italy’s leading advertising agency, is to set up a
wholly owned London office as part of its plans to create a European
The London operation is the fourth European agency Testa has set up
outside Italy and follows the establishment of operations in Paris,
Brussels and Frankfurt. The agency has poached David Grey, a senior
executive from Young & Rubicam, to set up the new London shop.
The move represents a change in strategy for Testa, which has previously
serviced its European clients through alliances with agencies in
individual countries. The agency recently ended its UK association with
Roose & Partners, which placed press ads for Testa’s only remaining
client in the UK, Lavazza coffee.
The new agency will initially use freelance creative teams but plans to
hire full-time creatives in the future.
Booth Lockett Makin, which already has a relationship with Armando Testa
in Italy, will be the new agency’s favoured media independent. Media
Italia, the Italian media agency owned by Testa, is part of BLM’s
pan-European media network, Eurolab.
’The overall objective is to build up a Testa brand in Europe,’ Marco
Testa, the chairman of Armando Testa, said. ’The planned network will be
European first, Italian second.’
Armando Testa set up its deal with Roose & Partners in 1995 after the
collapse of Simons Testa, its joint venture with Simons Palmer Denton
Clemmow and Johnson. Simons Testa’s clients included Lavazza, Fiat
Lancia and the Salon Selectives range of haircare products.
Grey joined Y&R Europe in 1992 to handle the Pirelli account. He left
the agency in 1995 to become European marketing director for AT&T but
returned in 1997 as new-business director. Last year, he was given the
new role of account managing director for Philip Morris and Pirelli.
Bruno Widmer, chairman of Y&R Europe, said: ’David is one of the best
and most experienced international advertising people I have met. We’re
very sorry to lose him but we recognise that this new opportunity was
too good to pass up.’
Testa has offices in Turin, Rome and Milan. Its major clients in Italy
include Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Benckiser and Martini.