Pitch update

The £80 million Lloyds media pitch that took place last week has whipped agencies into a creative frenzy - at least when it comes to interior decor.

ZenithOptimedia hauled up a large banner in its offices carrying the prophetic words "a new bank, a new way", with agency staff neatly lined up outside to greet the visiting Lloyds royalty.

OMD, meanwhile, opted for the even more poignant "to be the best, the time has come" emblazoned on a big poster in reception, accompanied by pictures of "inspiring" sports stars, and, erm, Gordon Ramsay. MEC went even further, decorating its offices in Lloyds colours. We hope Lloyds was impressed.

Also in media, Betfair has narrowed the field contesting its media business. The incumbent, Maxus, will now go head-to-head with MCHI for the account. So it's an odds-on certainty that Group M gets the business whatever happens.

After almost two years of dithering about its on-again, off-again advertising pitch, Visit Wales looks like it is about to name a winner. The final three agencies (Wieden & Kennedy, Golley Slater and Grey) have finished their presentations and the client has promised a result by the end of next week. Nobody is holding their breath, though.

Meanwhile, the Arla Foods result, which was expected to drag on into August, is now due to be announced by the end of this week/beginning of next, leaving Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi licking their lips in anticipation.

The global Emirates review has taken off, with pitching networks already having made the long journey to a roasting- hot Dubai for initial meetings. First stage presentations will happen in late July, while the second stage will commence in mid-August. It is, as yet, unknown when the winning agency will officially land the account.

In DM, the Department of Health has approached a selection of its roster agencies to work on a brief that encourages pregnant women and families with children who are on income support to join its Healthy Start voucher scheme.

Being run through COI, a shortlist of agencies is expected to be drawn up before the end of this month, with an appointment due to be made at the beginning of August.

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