Pitch update

As the festive period approaches, John Lewis is playing Santa and giving four London agencies an early Christmas present by putting them on the shortlist for its £20 million business.

Luckily for Lowe London, the agency is still involved. It will be joined by Adam & Eve, McCann Erickson and Wieden & Kennedy.

The Muller pitch, which is shrouded in secrecy, appears to be gaining momentum, with rumours rife that Saatchi & Saatchi is now out of the race, leaving just TBWA\London, The Red Brick Road and VCCP left in the frame. However, insiders say that the Charlotte Street outfit is still hanging on by the skin of its teeth - but for how long is anyone's guess.

Following weeks of pitching, the Santander media review is now down to just two agencies. Starcom has been knocked out, leaving the incumbent, Carat, and Universal McCann to battle it out for the £32 million account.

And finally ... the Insurance Australia Group (owner of Hastings Direct) direct marketing and media pitches, which were put on hold while the company reshuffled its marketing department, have now been restarted following the appointment of a new marketing director, Mathew Shepherd.