- Saatchi & Saatchi shouldered aside competition from Ammarati Puris Lintas and St Luke's to pick up the £8 million advertising account of Vision Express, previously held by McCann Erickson Bristol.
The result follows presentations to the optical chain's senior UK management team and the new French parent company GrandVision SA.
Saatchis' chief remit will be to re-establish the brand positioning of Vision Express in the face of increasing competition from rival highstreet opticians Boots, as well as Specsavers and Optical Express all of which are currently promotion and speed driven.
Richard Ellis, group director at Saatchis, who worked alongside business director Marilyn Baxter, strategic planner Anne McCormack and chairman Alan Bishop on the pitch, commented: "Vision Express wanted a strategic partner for the relauch of its business. They needed an agency with fmcg brand creative expertise, who also understands retail, and could provide a totally integrated service." Bishop's presence allowed Saatchi's to draw on its experience of handling the US LensCrafters account which the agency held in 1990.
Reade Fahs, joint managing director of Vision Express, said the company's search had involved talking to and looking at reels from over 20 agencies. "We would like to encourage trial from new customers by more clearly differentiating our brand versus that of our competitors. To help us with this we felt a need to significantly upgrade our strategic and creative resources. We felt that the world class brand we plan to become would require a world class advertising agency."
The review was sparked off by Grand Optical Photoservice's acquisition of Vision Express last autumn, forming Grand Vision Europe's largest optical retail group and causing a clash for McCann's whose New York office handles rival optician Pearl Vision.
Media buying will stay with McCann-Erickson Bristol.