Pitch update

First Homebase, then Pizza Hut, now Focus DIY. Yes, there's a lot of pitching for big brands that require "hard-working" advertising going on at the moment.

Focus clearly has ambitious plans and has opened talks with no fewer than 15 agencies about its £10 million creative account. We wonder how many of those agencies have spoken to Homebase recently and are having fun recycling their finest DIY thinking. The Focus pitch is being overseen by Agencyplaza.com and a result is hoped for by mid-May.

Meanwhile, Homebase has unveiled the shortlist for its £27 million ad account. CHI & Partners, Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, Leo Burnett and McCann Erickson have made the grade.

The Pizza Hut contest is also hotting up. The fast-food retailer is seeing seven shops for chemistry meetings and then culling them back to four agencies, which will pitch two weeks after Easter.

Remember that Lastminute.com pitch; the one that began way back when? Well, it's still going on. Having decided that he was keen on the notion of a start-up, the brand's marketing chief, Simon Thompson, is said to be changing tack. Now, we hear, he's not looking for an agency, but one of those strange, hard-to-define shops like AnalogFolk. OysterCatchers is overseeing proceedings. Good luck.

Virgin TV seems to be moving ahead with its media pitch for brands including the lads' channel Dave. The incumbent, PHD Rocket, has pulled out of the contest, leaving Starcom and Carat to battle it out. In addition, Goodstuff is teaming up with MGM for the £5 million brief.

And finally ... details are emerging of the Lotto shortlist. We hear WCRS is on it. Hang on a minute. Isn't it the agency that brought us Billy Connolly and his dreadful purple beard for the same brand? All's clearly been forgiven over at Camelot Towers.

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