An agency’s ability to triumph in the most gladiatorial part of the
advertising process - the competitive pitch - is still seen as the
ultimate test of advertising virility. So how did TBWA GGT Simons Palmer
pull it off to win one of the largest accounts ever to have moved in the
First, it was not a pitch in the traditional sense of developing a piece
of strategic and creative thinking over an artificially short period of
time and selling it to the client in a presentation rehearsed at 3.00am
the previous morning. Motivated by a McKinsey & Company review, which
looked at all processes within NatWest, including supplier
relationships, the pitch had more to do with how the winning agency
would handle an account of this size.
Second, from the moment TBWA received the initial approach from NatWest
(1 April this year, by letter) the agency assembled a small pitch team
which included people from its below-the-line agency, GGT Direct.
’The pitch was in every sense a joint effort,’ TBWA’s chairman, Paul
Bainsfair, says. The key line-up was Bainsfair, Peter Jones and Grant
Duncan (from TBWA) and Peter Herd, Penny Reid and Mike Cornwell (GGT
Direct’s chairman, deputy managing director and managing director
The account will be handled from TBWA’s Whitfield Street offices within
a secure unit called the ’NatWest village’ headed by Jones and Reid. It
will house ’a couple of dozen’ account handlers and planners - who will
work on other business too - and serve as an office for NatWest’s
’It’s not about mirroring NatWest’s structure,’ Bainsfair comments.
’It’s more about making its marketers feel they have a unified
The ’village’ will be designed as a flexible, modern environment where
all disciplines can work together, and it will feature hot-desking and a
cordless phone system.