Pitch update: JWT waves goodbye to Debenhams and First Direct

It's been a bad week for J Walter Thompson as it emerged it has lost First Direct shortly after it failed to make it through to the next stage of the Debenhams pitch, while AccorHotels and Medway Council are speaking to agencies.

Debenhams: shortlisted Karmarama, Mother, Portas and Mcgarrybowen
Debenhams: shortlisted Karmarama, Mother, Portas and Mcgarrybowen

Ongoing pitches

After an eight-year relationship, Debenhams has split with J Walter Thompson. The retailer has shortlisted Karmarama (who recently picked up JWT client First Direct), Mother, Portas and Mcgarrybowen following the completion of the first round of its advertising review. The parties expect the review to be completed by October.

New-business rankings: creative accounts


Medway Council is searching for an agency to work on its branding and marketing to promote the area. The winning shop will be asked to create a campaign using a range of marketing channels. Agencies will need to register their interest by the end of the month. 

AccorHotels has made contact with CRM agencies as the French hotel company considers a change in strategy from its current in-house approach. Accor’s UK director of CRM, loyalty and customer insight Peter Eliot contacted agencies in August, and meetings are due to take place later this month. There is no incumbent. An Accor spokesman denied a pitch was taking place and said the company speaks to agencies on an ongoing basis.

New-business rankings: media accounts 


Barclays is set to move its estimated £60m global media account to Omnicom Media Group after six years with WPP's Maxus. Although a spokesman said no final decision has been made, industry sources expect Omnicom’s victory to be confirmed shortly. OMD led the pitch in the UK, while Hearts & Science played an active role in the US.

First Direct has just released its first major ad campaign by Karmarama. JWT worked with First Direct from 2005 but lost the advertising account to the Accenture-owned shop earlier this year. Karmarama already had a relationship with the online bank through Nice, the mobile agency Karmarama bought in 2014.

Costa, the high street coffee chain, has hired Lida to handle its first global loyalty strategy following a four-way pitch managed by AAR. Lida has been tasked with developing Costa’s loyalty programme, Costa Coffee Club, and deliver brand consistency across the markets in which it operates (the UK, China, Dubai and Poland).

Ogilvy has won a brief from the Department for International Trade to encourage more businesses to sell abroad as part of a government drive to improve exports. The advertising agency will lead on the brief, which is part of the "Exporting is great" campaign, supported by other parts of the Ogilvy group. The DIT had worked with Engine on the brief since 2015. 

Collect+, the independent store-based parcel delivery and returns service, has appointed Creature of London as its first creative ad agency following a competitive pitch run by Agency Insight. Creature has been tasked with creating a multi-channel campaign to increase online shopper awareness and usage of their services. It will launch later this year. 

Superdry, the clothing brand, has appointed Social Chain as its global social media agency following a competitive pitch. Social Chain will focus on the brand’s key markets of the UK, the US and Germany. Superdry’s previous social media agency was 10Yetis. 

Bozboz has been appointed by Cats Protection to create a digital marketing campaign for the charity’s National Black Cat Day initiative on 27 October, following a competitive pitch process.