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Havas pays price for Santander sport celebs car crash

It may be a coincidence the Havas London has hired Mark Fairbanks from AMV/BBDO as its new creative director in the week that it’s lost the whopper Santander bank business back to WCRS – but it probably isn’t.

For Santander Havas produced one of the most toe-curling campaigns in living memory featuring the bank’s expensive ‘brand ambassadors’ Jessica Ennis, Jenson Button and Rory McIlroy (who may be the best bloke you could ever hope to meet but should never be allowed in front of a camera again – unless he’s playing golf).

It probably isn’t all the agency’s fault; almost certainly it wasn’t responsible for signing up these three in the first place. But if Santander still wants to get its money’s worth, then former agency WCRS (which seems to feature celebs in all its campaigns these days) is the obvious place to go.

WCRS also shows admirable persistence. Even when an agency wins business away from it it’s always there, lurking in the background. In this case its owner, marcoms outfit Engine Group, continued working for Santander.

As for Fairbanks, he’s one of a large number of AMV/BBDO creatives to take the helm elsewhere (in his case after AMV shuffled the creative deckchairs itself). None of them, so far as I can see, have exactly set the world alight in their new homes. Which is actually a compliment to AMV and its standards; which don’t seem to depend on individuals.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Toe-curling – brilliant description. From what I understand, Mr Santander like sport and that’s the brief. Must be pretty challenging for the agencies.

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