OPINION: Rapier will be the focus of a lot of envious looks

Cable &Wireless Communications was the most lucrative and high-profile pitch to date this year. Saatchi & Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and HHCL & Partners would all have wanted the prize for reasons above and beyond the huge income boost it will provide.

Cable &Wireless Communications was the most lucrative and

high-profile pitch to date this year. Saatchi & Saatchi, Bartle Bogle

Hegarty and HHCL & Partners would all have wanted the prize for reasons

above and beyond the huge income boost it will provide.



But to Rapier Stead & Bowden went the spoils. ’Rapier who?’ was the

reaction of many, perhaps because the agency comes in at number 150 in

Campaign’s Top 300 agency list with above-the-line billings of pounds

3.23 million. The responses to such a move vary from ’they’re doing it

on the cheap’, and ’they’ll not want a decent campaign then’, to ’it’s a

stitch-up among old mates’.



Given the extraordinary amounts of money CWC knows it must devote to

taking on BT, we can be confident that ’cheap’ is not the primary

motivation.



As for a ’decent campaign’, it’s impossible to comment until we see the

work. But, we should not allow the arrogant assumption that only the

bigger shops are capable of good work to persist. Nevertheless, to date,

Rapier’s work for CWC has been mystifying, if noticeably yellow. Agency

and client will know that all eyes will be on the consumer launch

campaign this autumn.



Which brings us to the question of ’stitch-up among old mates’ or

trust.



Yes, Rapier and the CWC’s marketing director, Ruth Blakemore, have

worked together before, when she was at Bell Cablemedia. But Blakemore

is not to be underestimated. She got good work out of Rainey Kelly

Campbell Roalfe on Virgin Atlantic, and has risen to the top in the

melee of the CWC merger.



Blakemore and Rapier now have everything to prove. It is hard to see

what CWC stands for, and the two parties have a short time in which to

come up with not only a strategy, but work capable of conveying it. This

would be the case whoever had won the pitch. It’s not just BBH, Saatchis

and Howell Henry who will be watching closely.



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