Zenith snatches £48m MBNA account

LONDON - MBNA Europe, the credit card company, has appointed Zenith Optimedia Group to handle its £48m media planning and buying business.

ZOG won the account after a pitch against MindShare and MediaCom North. The Billett Consultancy oversaw the pitch process.

MBNA's spend is currently biased towards direct marketing, with a £45m spend on direct mail. It spends £3m on above-the-line activity. However, more spend is likely to move above the line in the future.

Zenith Media and Optimedia pitched together for the business, but are thought to have led the pitch from Optimedia's offices.

The above-the-line account was previously divided between three agencies -- MediaCom North handled press activity for personal loans, MindShare had TV for its credit cards and Universal McCann Manchester handled press for the company's Platinum Credit Card.

MBNA's media review followed recent changes in its creative and direct marketing agency arrangements. J Walter Thompson is its lead creative agency but Archibald Ingall Stretton created a recent television campaign to support the Platinum Plus card featuring the line: "We've always been big on little things."

EHS Brann Leeds was hired to work on part of its direct marketing business.

ZOG will handle planning and buying across all media for MBNA, including television, press, direct mail and inserts.

MBNA, which is based in Chester, has more than 5m customers. It launched in the UK in 1997.

Nobody at ZOG would comment as Campaign went to press.

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