No-one who followed the contest for the BBC’s £5 million ad account was in any doubt how crucial the result would be for staff at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R.
The shop had held the brief for nine years and, after a recent lacklustre run of new business and the loss of Virgin Atlantic, needed to retain the prestigious account.
Tensions were running high, particularly after news began circulating that its rival Bartle Bogle Hegarty had pulled a blinder in the pitch, gathering the entire agency for some Strictly Come Dancing moves to impress the client.
So when Alison Hoad, the RKCR/Y&R vice-chairman, walked into her office last Friday for a 9am call with the BBC’s marketing team, confidence was shaky. "Clients usually speak to the agencies who haven’t won the pitch first, don’t they?" Hoad says.
It was good news, though. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, BBH, Saatchi & Saatchi and Wieden & Kennedy were out after a seven-month process, and the BBC stuck with its trusted partner for the potentially rocky years ahead.
Celebrations began at 10am and continued in a local dive, uninterrupted by the news that swiftly followed the BBC’s decision – Vodafone was dumping RKCR/Y&R in favour of Grey London.