PERSPECTIVE: Brand moves mean winners must follow extremely hard acts

Every agency has to live with the awful possibility that, for one

reason or another, a large client will leave, causing headaches, public

doubts about the agency's stability or, worst of all, redundancies. Is

it going through one of those periods of internecine warfare known by

Campaign headline writers as a top-level shake-up? Is there a plot afoot

to start a breakaway agency? Has the award-winning work failed to tickle

the targets of the advertising into a sufficiently receptive mood? Does

the departing client know something we don't know? Has the departing

client taken leave of his or her senses?



These and other fascinating theories have been energetically promoted by

those with axes to grind and advantage to be gained as three

high-profile accounts have moved this week. All, for one reason or

another, deserve mention, and not just because Lowe Lintas and Saatchi &

Saatchi have been nimble enough to create valedictory ads for this

week's issue of Campaign.



Three agencies bad, one agency cheaper. That is the mantra of directors

at family owned companies whose personal fortunes are being given the

run-around by own-label competition, price wars and falling profits.

Those are some of the reasons Lowe Lintas has lost its 12-year hold on

the Weetabix account after a pitch against BMP DDB, Abbott Mead Vickers

BBDO and Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB, which has won the centralised

account.



Its work for smaller Weetabix brands may have hinted at large chunks of

the marketing strategy slapped into an ad. But in the "Withabix"

campaign, Lowe managed to produce good advertising despite the client.

It found a blindingly simple, 100 per cent branded unlocking device

allowing endless executions. Weetabix's most significant achievement

last year, as acknowledged by Sir Richard George, of the founding

family, was the rise of Weetabix to the number one sterling brand in the

UK, taking over from Corn Flakes. Let's leave Lowe Lintas with that

comforting thought and wait for it to attract another restless cereal

maker.



Another one of our great campaigns of recent years is on the move - Army

recruitment, after eight years with Saatchi & Saatchi. The agency has

been asked not to repitch after a slew of personnel changes. Whoever

gets this account will have a job to match the relevant and engaging

work that Saatchis has to its credit - from the gritty realism of life

on the front line to the recent, droll, though in my view less

thought-provoking ads.



No more Lt Cols for clients has to be the only satisfaction for

Saatchis.



And so to the Mars Bar creative account which is leaving D'Arcy for Grey

after not eight, not 12, but 40 years, "re-energise our 78-year-old

brand" is the brief. A tough brief in an even tougher year, I think

you'll all agree.