The agency has had an on/off relationship with the building society for years, having won the business on three separate occasions, the last of which was in 2002. But now the account will either go to Saatchi & Saatchi, which somehow gained a last-minute pass on to the pitch, or 18 Feet & Rising.
Agencies have been dropping like flies from the easyJet advertising pitchlist. After Dare and Publicis London both pulled out, word is that The Red Brick Road is now off the list too, turning the process into a straight shoot-out between Grey London and VCCP. The airline first called a review of its £20 million pan-European advertising business last month, and has appointed the former Barclays marketer Simon Gulliford as a consultant on the pitch.
The £25 million pitch for the comparison website Moneysupermarket.com is hotting up. The pitching agencies Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Mother, TBWA\London and Wieden & Kennedy will be busy preparing for presentations, which begin on 18 February.
ATOC, the train companies association, is in the final stages of its advertising pitch, which is now between The Red Brick Road/Ruby and Cheethambell JWT. Proximity had been knocked out after the initial stages. ATOC called the statutory review last October, and the winning agency is expected to work across a range of activity, including promoting various railcards.
The Wickes CRM review, which kicked off in January, is also progressing. The word is that just two agencies are left in the frame: Partners Andrews Aldridge and Proximity. The successful agency will be responsible for handling digital and direct marketing activity for the brand, focusing predominantly on the My Wickes Card loyalty programme.
The advertising pitch for Nokia's luxury mobile handset brand Vertu is moving along nicely. A longlist of agencies are meeting the company for chemistry sessions next week, and a shortlist will be drawn up soon after. Pitches are expected to take place sometime towards the end of next month.
Agencies are sitting nervously by the phone waiting for a call from Diageo regarding its ad business for Red Stripe. The beer brand has held chemistry meetings with a wide variety of agencies and is due to announce a shortlist any day now.