United Distillers & Vintners UK is talking to non-roster agencies in a £5 million review of its Bell's Whisky and Archers accounts, both of which are currently handled by Court Burkitt & Company.
UDV UK has already kicked off reviews of its public relations and direct marketing rosters. A shortlist of advertising agencies is being drawn up ready for pitches at the end of June, and Court Burkitt will be given the chance to re-pitch for the business.
Syl Saller, the marketing director of UDV UK, said: "These brands are at a particular stage of development where we want to be sure that we are getting absolutely the right advertising support to take us on to the next stage. We are well aware of the great contribution made by Court Burkitt over the years."
The review is being managed and co-ordinated by Andrew Melsom at Agency Insight.
Hugh Burkitt, the chairman of Court Burkitt, said: "These are brands we know well. We have worked on Archers right from the beginning and advertising has played a big part in its success. Our work on Bell's last Christmas contributed towards it gaining market share in a tough market."
Court Burkitt is still the agency of record for three other UKV brands -- Tony's Freezer Cocktails, Pimm's No 1 and Drambuie Liqueur. However, the spend for these drinks is little over £1 million combined and without Bell's and Archer's, Court Burkitt's place on the UDV roster must be threatened.