Pitch update

Despite the prevailing adverse conditions, the ad industry has kicked off the new year with a frenzy of pitching. Assuming not all reviews are concerned with chasing cheaper advertising, all this activity should help keep out the chill.

Those waiting for a bit of excitement to get rid of the January blues will be happy to know that the BMW pitch is expected to start proper before the end of the month, with the car manufacturer planning to kick off chemistry meetings in the last week of January. A pitch of this size means that it gives those agency people who are detoxing after Christmas something to occupy their minds instead of constantly thinking about going down the pub.

Agencies betting on getting the Paddy Power result in the next week should get good odds as the bookmaker is expected to draw its pitch to a conclusion within the next few days.

The pitches for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the organisation that helps savers who have lost money with a collapsed bank, took place earlier this week. Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson Manchester and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R were the agencies required to get their heads round what sounds like an extremely complicated brief, with a result expected before the end of the month.

It seems like every agency without an obvious conflict has a keen eye on getting on the Honey Monster Foods pitch. The company, which owns brands such as Sugar Puffs and Puffed Wheat, has asked agencies to confirm their interest, and is expected to announce a shortlist imminently. Agency Insight is handling the process, and an appointment is expected to be made in March.

Rumours continue to swirl around the COI media buying pitch. One tale had it that the Starcom/i-level team Smile wheeled in an advertising legend as Smile "chairman" in a bid to wow the client. Starcom denies using any such tactics. Meanwhile, it has emerged that Carat's bespoke COI offering name is Unify (we wonder how long it took them to come up with that one). As to when we will be put out of our misery on the COI result, it has mentioned in its brief that completion of "post-tender negotiations" is expected by 15 January. But, at the rate things are going, many expect the process to take rather longer.

The pitches for Kopparberg, the Cider of Sweden-owned cider brand, took place this week. Kopparberg is currently the third-largest premium packaged cider brand in the UK but is eager to raise its profile and is prepared to invest £1 million in an integrated campaign that's due to be launched later in the year.

The Phones 4u media pitch isn't quite the draw for media agencies you would imagine. Once word got round that the7stars was teaming up with the client's creative incumbent, Adam & Eve, to pitch with a full-service offering, all other contenders (unsurprisingly) got cold feet. So, it looks like a head-to-head between the incumbent, MediaVest Manchester, and the7stars.

The premium spirits brand at the AAR still remains strictly under wraps. Rumours that it may have been Bombay Sapphire have been quashed by the pitch consultant, and agencies are still in the dark despite looming chemistry meetings, which are set to take place on 28-29 January. While shops that handle Diageo and InBev brands have been told to give it a go, most are concerned that there will undoubtedly be some form of conflict, but, until the beverage is unmasked, most are still seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

The British Library, which is on the hunt for an agency to handle an interactive campaign promoting its contribution to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, is expecting to get RFIs back in this week. Though small, it's an attractive prospect for any agencies that don't yet have a client linked with the Olympics, and some big players are rumoured to be involved. We won't have to wait long to find out who the successful agency is either; they want to find a shortlist of three to pitch by the end of next week, with a result expected by the end of February.

The Aviva global media pitch gathers pace. All four agencies involved - the incumbent, OMD, Zenith, Vizeum and Maxus - pitched last week and are involved in further meetings this week. Shouldn't be long before the pitching four are whittled down to a final round.