Saga and AA call pitch for £25m media task

Saga Holdings and the AA have kicked off their long-anticipated £25 million media planning and buying review.

The two companies, which merged last year, intend to consolidate offline media into one agency. The incumbents, Carat and PHD, will compete for the account against non-roster agencies.

A shortlist is currently being drawn up for the pitch, with presentations expected to take place in three weeks' time. Online planning and buying for the Saga and AA brands, which is handled by Carat, is not thought to be included in the review.

One source described the Saga and AA brief as "heavily direct response-focused". Saga's spend to back its range of holiday and insurance products for the over-50s is heavily skewed towards direct marketing, while the bulk of the AA's spend is above the line.

PHD has handled the AA's £20 million planning and buying business since 2005, the same year Carat was appointed to work on the Saga business. Carat was awarded the £22 million online AA account in January without a pitch. I-level had previously handled the business.

In January, the AA called a creative agency review aimed at bringing together its advertising and direct business into one agency, with a greater emphasis on direct response.