The Leith Agency is set to expand out of Scotland, and is in advanced
talks with the Manchester hotshop, Cheetham Bell.
The Scottish agency has had a good year creatively, winning awards for
its Irn-Bru work, but has recently lost pounds 5 million worth of
business, as Warburtons Bakery consolidated into Ogilvy and Mather, and
the tyre retailer, ATS, walked out of the door.
The loss of income focused the Leith Agency’s plans for growth. It has
expanded as far as it can in Scotland, and has become frustrated at the
way accounts move around north of the border, with statutory reviews
meaning that most agencies take turns with the big accounts.
John Denholm, the agency’s managing director, is understood to want a
base from which to tap into the much larger pool of potential clients in
England, and believes his agency’s reputation would attract new clients.
David Bell, the managing director of Cheetham Bell, confirmed that a
decision was imminent. He said: ‘We are a smaller version of the Leith.
We have the same creative reputations, and the fact that it has singled
us out confirms our belief in our work.’
Cheetham Bell already handles some Scottish work, and lists Pringle
knitwear and the Scottish Sports Council among its clients.
The negotiations, which insiders say have been open, are focused on a
takeover rather than a merger. The Leith Agency guards its reputation
jealously, and previous plans for expansion into Bristol foundered when
the agency refused to share its name.
Bell added: ‘It is now down to whether the Leith puts the right offer on