Retail’s the story of the moment for UK ad agencies with Tesco’s £110m pitch lumbering into gear, the John Lewis account powering Adam & Eve into a £60m deal with Omnicom’s DDB London and now the Co-op switching its £50m supermarket account from long-serving TBWA Manchester to Leo Burnett.
Not so long ago the notion of a busy retail account going to an agency like Burnett would have raised eyebrows, Burnett being noted for its studied approach to these things. But the agency has won its spurs with a constant stream of very good ads for McDonald’s and retailers these days seem to want creativity as well as the ability to churn out dozens of ‘buy one get one free’ ads.
According to Campaign DDB was on the Co-op’s final list but had to pull out following the Adam & Eve deal and conflict with john Lewis, specifically the Waitrose supermarket chain (at BBH) which JL owns. Which must be slightly galling, for Omnicom which is paying all that money and the DDB old guard which might have fended off the Adam & Eve-ites had the Co-op come round a bit sooner. The other finalists were Mark Lund’s new agency Now and WPP’s part-owned CHI & Partners.