MFI, the furniture retailer, has kicked off a review of its £26 million media planning and buying account.
The business is currently held by ZenithOptimedia, but the retailer sent briefs out to other agencies earlier this week. Agencies are understood to have signed strict non-disclosure agreements.
ZenithOptimedia has held the account since the merger of Zenith Media and Optimedia in 2002. The account had been a longstanding Optimedia client before that.
The media review follows the recent campaign, created by M&C Saatchi, which portrays scenes of traditional UK family life taking place in MFI stores. The ads have attracted more than 100 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority over their aggressive tone and glorification of a "bullying and disrespectful attitude".
Last year, the hiring of M&C Saatchi prompted speculation MFI would be moving the media business directly into its sister agency Walker Media. But MFI has opted for an open pitch instead.
MFI did not return calls.
THE INTERNET QUESTION
Will interactive TV ever take off?
Was interactive television five years too late? It could have been big in the late 90s/early 00s, and the potential to extend beyond the 30-second ad would have been more effective at a time when PVR wasn't anywhere near critical mass levels. But surely everyone is more excited about IPTV to give interactive TV any time? I know I am.
In some ways it has taken off. Watching football, for instance. The ability to hit the red button and switch your commentary from BBC TV to Radio Five Live is a treat. But the system crashes, it's slow and the interface is clunky, unless your set-top box has the processing power of a top-end PC.
As an agency that has specialised in interactive TV advertising from the start, we can say one thing: on-demand is here. The knowledge and models we use to get brands talking with their customers are becoming more valuable. What we need to be doing is not pondering the future of interactive television, and not assuming it's just a red button on a Sky box, but working out how to encourage a viewer to want to come and see what your brand is saying. As viewers find new ways of consuming content, ad agencies will have to find new ways of talking to them. Interactive
TV isn't about to grow up, it's just been reborn.
Buyers circle Virgin Media
Buyers are lining up to pay £11 billion for Virgin Media Group after its chairman, Jim Mooney, began presentations to potential bidders, reports say.
As well as Carlyle, the US private equity group that made the initial bid for the company, which is considering severing its ties with Richard Branson (pictured), Viacom, Time Warner and the equity groups Cinven and Apax have also expressed an interest.
Google posts $925m profit
Google has failed to meet Wall Street expectations in its second-quarter results, reporting profits of $925 million. They are up 28 per cent year on year, but are down on the $1 billion it made the previous quarter. The results were blamed on the decision to hire 1,548 new staff, and lower than expected revenues from affiliates. Google also reported a 1 per cent fall in UK revenues. The UK accounts for 15 per cent of total revenues.
Trinity sells off 14 papers
Trinity Mirror has sold its 14 Berkshire regional newspapers, including The Reading Chronicle, to Berkshire Media Group for £10 million. The deal is part of Trinity's ongoing disposal programme. Earlier this month Trinity sold 25 newspapers in the South-East to Northcliffe, a division of Daily Mail & General Trust, for £64.15 million.
Sainsbury's offer made
Delta (Two), a Qatar-based investment fund, has made a preliminary offer of just over £10 billion for J Sainsbury, according to reports. The fund, which already holds a 25 per cent stake in the high-street retailer, has made an initial offer of around 600p a share for the business, but has yet to make a formal bid. If it succeeds, it hopes to attract Tony Campbell, the Asda deputy chief executive, as the chairman.
Bellamy to join GMG Radio
Sarah Bellamy, the operations director at Endemol UK, has been hired for the newly created role of director of digital media at GMG Radio. She will oversee the planned launch of two new stations and will be responsible for all station websites. Starting in September, she will be reporting to Stuart Taylor, the recently appointed commercial director.
Warby in marketing post
Scottish & Newcastle has promoted Sarah Warby to the role of marketing director across its portfolio of brands, including Strongbow, San Miguel and John Smith's. She has been at the company since 2004 and has previously worked as its innovations director. Warby replaces Tim Seagar, who last month became the company's acting managing director. He is expected to be handed the role on a permanent basis.
BBH rejigs management
Bartle Bogle Hegarty has promoted three staff to its UK leadership team following the departure of Russell Ramsey to JWT. The senior creatives Rosie Arnold (pictured) and Nick Gill, and Mark Boyd, the agency's director of content, join Jim Carroll, John O'Keeffe, Ben Fennell, Kevin Brown, David Spencer and Charlie Rudd on the UK team.
Pomeranz in digital role
Ricardo Pomeranz has been named as the global chief digital officer at Rapp Collins, the Omnicom-owned direct marketing agency. In the newly created role, Pomeranz will report to Gary Von Kennel, the agency's global chief executive; and he will be responsible for identifying strengths in the individual country offices before trying to roll them out across the network.
Spence departs Scholz
Steve Spence, the creative director of Scholz & Friends London, has left the company in order to start up an ethical communications agency called the Ministry of Truth. It will provide advertising for companies that provide ethical products or services.
My Agency wins juice task
My Agency has won the UK advertising account for the US juice company Welch's following a three-way pitch against undisclosed agencies. Welch's, which has enjoyed particular success in the US with its grape juice variant, launched in the UK in 2002.
Grey to push green issues
The London Development Agency has handed Grey London the brief to promote its green initiatives following a competitive pitch. The LDA is in charge of delivering the Mayor of London's Climate Change Action Plan.
Children's charity in ad drive
Save the Children has appointed Carat to work on its media planning and buying account. The charity is planning its biggest-ever ad push across TV, outdoor, print and online in 2007 and 2008.
National Trust hires Zed
Zed Media has been hired to handle the media planning and buying account for the National Trust, which is worth £5 million, following a pitch that involved MediaCom Direct, Rocket, Naked and the7stars.
SABMiller picks MEC
SABMiller, the owner of drinks brands including Miller and Peroni, has picked the WPP-owned MEC Global Solutions to handle its brand communications planning. The planning unit will work with SABMiller's operating companies around the world to train and mentor staff. The appointment will not affect the brewer's relationship with local agencies, including Media Planning Group in the UK.
Total in Moss Bros victory
Moss Bros, the men's clothing retailer, has handed Total Media its £2 million media planning and buying account. The company is now planning a major expansion drive. The review was managed by Andrew Barclay, the head of marketing at Moss Bros.
Kitcatt Nohr wins £6m brief Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw has won the £6 million direct marketing account for The Salvation Army following a competitive pitch.
KLM consolidates digital
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has consolidated its global digital account into Media Contacts after a pitch against 14 global digital agencies. Media Contacts will handle media planning and buying, online advertising, affliliate marketing and search.