Value of pitches drops 10 per cent, AAR finds

New-business directors will best remember 2001 for the lack of major account reviews, elongated decision-making and abandoned tender processes, according to new research from the AAR.

The figures, collated from review stories in Campaign and other marketing publications as well as its own information, show that although the number of reported moves increased, the value was down 10 per cent on 2000's figure.

The total value of new business moving in 2001 was £2,536 million with an average budget per pitch of £4.5 million; this compared with a £6.4 million average last year.

The split between media, advertising and reviews comprising both was similar to last year. Only 11 per cent of pitches comprised both disciplines.

The report noted that a large number of international clients, including Dell, Lego and Philips, reviewed in 2001. Within UK-only media reviews the biggest sector to hold pitches was finance and included clients such as Intelligent Finance, Barclays and Halifax Bank of Scotland.

According to the AAR, one of the most notable features of 2001 was the number of large clients that moved their creative business without a formal competitive pitch.

These include Egg and the now-defunct ITV Digital, which both moved to Mother, and Barclays and NatWest, which went to Bartle Bogle Hegarty and M&C Saatchi respectively.

Of all the reviews announced in 2001, 40 per cent moved without a pitch.

This was a significant increase over 2000 when more than 17 per cent switched agencies.

Martin Jones, the AAR's head of advertising, said: "2001 was definitely not a good year for new business but this was exaggerated in agencies' minds. First there was a lack of high-profile clients and second there are more quality agencies for clients to choose from."