Pitch update

Life on the pitch scene could be better. This week's hottest prospect is none other than Homebase, which is looking to cut back costs.

Billing a whopping £27 million, it's still nice and chunky, but we all know that the retailer enjoys a good pitch (the incumbent, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, has repitched and retained the business on no fewer than three occasions already). The AAR did a benchmarking exercise on Homebase last year, but, oddly, the pitch is going through RD Squared, indicative of the procurement-led flavour of the pitch. AMV is going for it yet again, suggesting there is some flesh that can be cut off the agency's bill.

The holiday company TUI's media consolidation pitch is advancing. TUI's incumbent, Media Planning Group, and First Choice's Walker Media will go up against MediaCom, Carat and Universal McCann for the £12 million prize.

Meanwhile, word on the street is that Work Club has pulled off the BMW digital pitch, being handled by the AAR. The confident start-up claims it has got too much on already. The news leaves Dare, Profero and Engine Group's Altogether to fight it out.

For those among you gutted to have missed an opportunity to pitch for Cheese Strings last year, the rumour is that the food brand has hit the agency road again and is still looking for an advertising partner. Quiet Storm and Ogilvy presented last time round.

In the world of direct marketing, The AA is expected to announce a winner on Friday. British Airways, meanwhile, has suggested that it will reduce its shortlist down to three or four agencies by the end of the week and Royal Mail will be kicking off pitches for its account next week.

The Telegraph's direct and advertising pitch, also going through the AAR, is progressing. Rapier and the Adam & Eve/AMP combo have already pitched. However, the TBWA\London and Tequila team and Archibald Ingall Stretton have been given a two-week extension.

Creative Brief is overseeing the Axa pitch. VCCP, TBWA\London, Euro RSCG and WFCA will compete for the business.

The Observatory has a financial services brief on its books, but is holding back the brand name. We've heard it's a company looking to launch in the UK that has more than one sub-brand. Any ideas? Phone Campaign's newsdesk on (020) 8267 4683.

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