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