St Luke's sees off BMB to pick up SkyBet business

Scooping the interactive TV betting account will reunite the agency with BSkyB.

St Luke's is poised to scoop BSkyB's £5 million SkyBet business after triumphing in a final shoot-out against Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

The satellite broadcaster denied it had made an appointment to its interactive TV betting service, but BMB has been knocked out of the running. United London was eliminated at an earlier stage of the pitch.

The win, which includes the SkyVegas and SkyPoker brands, will see St Luke's regain a position on the BSkyB roster. It handled the broadcaster's main account between 1999 and 2001.

Both BMB and United already work for the broadcaster, the former working on Sky One and Sky News, and the latter on the overall Sky brand.

The review for the telephone, interactive TV and internet gambling service was called following Mother's decision to resign the business in February after BSkyB called a pitch for the launch of its interactive poker account.

Following the explosion of internet poker sites, new advertising for BSkyB's betting services is understood to focus on SkyPoker, which allows viewers to play against each other through their television sets.

Mother won the SkyBet account in March 2004, triumphing in a pitch that included the then HHCL Red Cell, Farm and the incumbent, the Yorkshire-based agency Phillipson Ward Longworth Camponi. The pitch was managed by the AAR.

Mother's work for the brand included a multimedia campaign to raise awareness and use of the service among sports fans. It also aimed to dispel the notion that betting is a seedy pastime.

The campaign featured film of sporting events with a commentator who lost his cool every time his bet failed to come in. It ran with the endline "SkyBet. It matters more when there's money on it."

In August 2004, BSkyB poached the Ladbrokes marketer, Simon Miller, to be the SkyBet marketing director.

Media duties for SkyBet, which are currently held by MediaCom, are unaffected by the review.