Publicis has scooped the multi-million pound Woolwich creative
account, ending Ogilvy & Mather’s tenure of more than 70 years.
The appointment is expected to be the first stage in an image makeover
for the building society turned bank, although its famous ’we’re with
the Woolwich’ slogan may survive.
Publicis’s victory against O&M and Bartle Bogle Hegarty makes Optimedia,
the Publicis group media operation, a leading contender for Woolwich’s
media buying business, which is under review at MindShare.
For Publicis, the win fills the gap left by the departure eight years
ago of Abbey National. Budgets are undisclosed but the Woolwich is
thought to have set aside more than pounds 10 million to back what will
be a relaunch campaign two years after its conversion.
The company’s adspend dipped last year as Woolwich chiefs wrestled with
the image problem created by its conversion to a bank, while
experiencing the effects of a shrinking mortgage market and falling
The Woolwich wants to become a more robust challenger to the major high
street banks and rival financial service providers such as Direct Line,
Egg and Standard Life, while safeguarding its future against potential
The advertising is expected to position the Woolwich as having the scale
to offer a broad range of financial products, but with a customer focus
to eclipse the financial monoliths. New services being promoted include
Open Plan, a customised banking service, and Motorbase, a car finance
Industry sources say the ’we’re with the Woolwich’ line may be retained
but not necessarily in its present form. ’It’s part of Woolwich’s equity
so there could be variations of it,’ an insider said.
Richard Hytner, the Publicis chairman who led the agency’s pitch team,
said: ’It’s a great time to be taking on a brand like the Woolwich
because the financial services sector is more dynamic than ever, which
puts a premium on fresh and innovative thinking.’