TBWA on alert as AXA plans second review in 12 months

TBWA/London is bracing itself for the second review of its AXA advertising account within a year.

The French insurance giant is keen to increase its profile by harnessing the combined strength of its three core businesses: AXA Sun Life, AXA Insurance and AXA PPP Healthcare. The review is also part of a strategy to position itself as a strong international brand and challenge the market leader, ING.

The review will just involve the £1.5 million corporate account, held by TBWA, but will go on to include AXA's core brands. AXA is now drawing up a shortlist of agencies to pitch for the entire business this spring. The Omnicom shop will be invited to pitch and the successful agency will handle creative for all AXA brands.

The latest AXA review comes just eight months after TBWA was re-appointed to the business and follows the promotion of the marketing director of PPP Healthcare, Darin Nightingale, to the new position of head of brands for AXA UK last May.

An AXA spokesman said the company was looking to build on its four-year sponsorship of the FA Cup.

"This is just an evolution of the AXA brand. People have heard of it and we now need to explain what we offer. The expiry of TBWA's contract has prompted us to take a look at our above-the-line advertising. This is standard practice and no reflection on TBWA," he said.

Andrew McGuinness, the chief executive of TBWA, said: "AXA uses a number of agencies and wants to have a winner-takes-all pitch for an enlarged account."