Direct Line Insurance has put its pounds 13 million creative account up
for grabs in a move that threatens the company’s seven-year relationship
with its incumbent agency,TBWA.
Details of the review are being kept under wraps, but it has been
TBWA will be given the chance to repitch against an undisclosed number
of agencies. A decision is expected by September.
The review is billed as ‘part of a wide-ranging business plan to be
undertaken by Direct Line’s new chief executive, Ian Chippendale’.
Direct Line’s famous red phone was created by the copywriter, Chris
Wilkins, who is now retired, while he was the creative director at Davis
Wilkins Advertising. The account transferred with him to Hoare Wilkins
in 1991, and finally moved to TBWA following the agency’s merger with
Hoare Wilkins in 1994.
Direct Line Insurance, said: ‘We believe that it is healthy at this
point in time to review how best to satisfy our future needs. We are
extremely appreciative of the significant contribution that the agency
has made to our success over the past seven years.’
The media account for Direct Line Insurance, held by the Media Business,
is unaffected. The Direct Line Savings account, held by the Edinburgh
agency, 1576, is excluded from the review.
Direct Line stressed that it would not disclose any details of the
review, and would not consider speculative approaches from advertising
Jonathan Hoare, the managing director of TBWA, said: ‘Direct Line is
right to look around. The company has moved from small challenger to
market leader, but its profits have fallen dramatically and the market
has changed. We welcome the opportunity to take a fresh look at Direct
Line’s marketing and resources.’