Zenith and BBJ vie for HBOS media

LONDON - The Halifax Bank of Scotland group is conducting a head-to-head pitch for its £22 million media account, pitting the incumbent, Zenith Media, against BBJ.

The review threatens to end Zenith's hold on the £17 million Halifax business, which it has handled since 1992. It comes less than two months after Halifax's merger with Bank of Scotland, buying for which is handled by BBJ's fellow Aegis agency, Feather Brooksbank. The alliance, which was first announced in May, has triggered an extensive shake-up of marketing arrangements across the HBOS group.

Halifax's former marketer, Philip Hanson, was appointed as the head of marketing for HBOS retail in August with a brief that included raising the Bank of Scotland's profile. Halifax's above-the-line incumbent agency, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, subsequently won a three-way pitch for the £5 million Bank of Scotland account, cementing its hold on the HBOS business.

DLKW's win came without its core Halifax business being put out to pitch - a result that would have suggested that Zenith could snaffle Feather Brooksbank's Bank of Scotland account. Instead, Zenith must face a shootout for all the HBOS business, putting its Halifax account at risk for the first time since it won it from BSB Dorland.

The review gives BBJ the chance to pick up a financial services account for the first time since its Guardian Royal Exchange client was folded into AXA two years ago. The agency failed in a pitch for the combined CGNU media business earlier this year.

HBOS and the two agencies were unavailable for comment as Campaign went to press.

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