The Homebase incumbent, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, pulled out of the contest this week, something partly attributable to price frustration, but also a sense that the agency was on to a losing battle. It's also fighting rear-guard actions on its Lotto and Royal Mail accounts. 2008 is turning out to be an interesting year for the UK's biggest agency.
Wieden & Kennedy's resignation of the £13 million Pizza Hut brief is making agencies twitchy. We hear the fast-food retailer is not using an intermediary and is instead contacting agencies directly.
It seems COI is moving away from its frustrating partnering pitch system (where media agencies pitched in conjunction with ad agencies in pairings decided by COI).
Agencies are delighted to have control of their destiny once again, especially in the massive anti-obesity task currently up for grabs. COI has invited AMV, M&C Saatchi, VCCP and Wieden & Kennedy to pitch for the advertising account. Carat, Manning Gottlieb OMD, Mediaedge:cia and Naked have been shortlisted for communications planning, while Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel, EHS Brann, Partners Andrews Aldridge and Tullo Marshall Warren will fight for the direct marketing portion of the business. Phew!
We hear that incumbent MediaCom is off the global Emirates pitch, leaving just OMD and Starcom to battle it out.
And finally ... Corgi is looking for a media agency. No, not the dogs favoured by royalty, but the boiler certificates that aim to reduce instances of carbon monoxide poisoning.