Pitch Update: Starling Bank flips the bird to big agencies

Meanwhile, Thinkbox has held tissue meetings for creative pitch.

Starling Bank: only considering small and medium-sized agencies
Starling Bank: only considering small and medium-sized agencies


Starling Bank has eliminated large agencies that were on the longlist for its advertising pitch. The challenger bank, which had issued an RFI last month to agencies of all sizes, announced late last week that it would now only consider small and medium-sized shops (maximum 250 employees) – just the sort of email big agency chiefs did not need as they travelled home from Cannes. Oystercatchers is assisting with the review and Starling previously worked with Common Industry.

Thinkbox has held optional tissue meetings in London with shops shortlisted for its creative account: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Leo Burnett, Mother and Wonderhood Studios. These began last week, as the world’s top creative talent sizzled in Cannes. AAR is assisting on the process.

FCB Inferno and VCCP are among the agencies that have been shortlisted for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation UK creative contest. The process is being run through AAR and there is no incumbent.


Three has called a statutory review of its media planning and buying account, which has been held by Mindshare since 2006. It follows the brand appointing MRM McCann London as its lead customer experience agency earleir this month, after a competitive pitch run by AAR.


Starbucks has picked Havas Group Media to work on its media business after a 19-year relationship with Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Bupa, the private-healthcare company, has chosen to work with MullenLowe London on a mental-health services project after a competitive pitch managed by ISBA. The appointment does not impact Engine, which handles its main advertising account.

William Grant & Sons has appointed Uncommon Creative Studio as the global creative agency for Tullamore Dew and Grant’s. Uncommon was awarded Tullamore Dew after a pitch and picked up the brief for Grant’s following that win.

Bike-maker Brompton has appointed Social Chain to lead social media for its Brompton Bike Hire division after a competitive pitch. The agency is tasked with planning, producing and delivering a consumer acquisition campaign over the summer. There was no incumbent.

The Hoxby Collective has been appointed by Unilever after a pitch to produce digital content for its "Wikipedia for cleaning" website, Cleanipedia. The project will involve writing and optimising bespoke online content for the site in 10 European markets.

Challenger bank Triodos has appointed The Kite Factory to handle media planning and buying. There was no incumbent. Netherlands-based Triodos, which pitches itself as "Europe’s leading sustainable bank", only invests in organisations that it believes are "making a positive difference to society".

Manchester-based Running Total has been awarded the media account for not-for-profit educational organisation LTE Group after a pitch. The agency succeeds Carat Manchester.

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