The forthcoming Lloyds Bank pitch is shaping up to be UK adland’s version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the notorious shoot-out between the Earp brothers and their opponents from a loose confederation of outlaws, the Cowboys.
In this case the combatants are incumbent RKCR/Y&R and adam&eveDDB (the adam&eve team broke away from RKCR/Y&R five years ago). The pitch takes place at the end of July.
So there is a lot of previous in this which includes the law suit launched against embryo A&E by RKCR/Y&R owner WPP for allegedly breaching their gardening leave with Lloyds the client in the frame. This was settled out of court for about £1m and an apology of sorts from A&E.
A&E would appear to be in the driving seat: it was recently appointed to handle the ad celebration of Lloyds’ 250th anniversary, which it did to some effect. It also handles Halifax, the other big bank in Lloyds Banking Group.
But RKCR/&&R, or, rather, owner WPP is pulling out all the stops too. WPP has, it seems, established a so-called ‘Green Team’ for the pitch (green being the Lloyds colour) in London’s Shoreditch, comprising people from sibling agency Grey (the current high flyer in WPP’s creative agency empire) and CHI & Partners, 49 per cent owned by WPP. Presumably there’s also an input from RKCR/Y&R.
Should RKCR/Y&R lose the Lloyds pitch then CHI may be parachuted in on a rescue mission with the agency becoming CHI/Y&R. This may happen, win or bust.
It’s not unusual for WPP to form bespoke agencies for clients, it has about 20 of them in being at the moment. Lloyds’ media business is handled by a WPP construct called Greenhouse. But it is noteworthy when it happens in advance of a big pitch and shows how seriously WPP and its combative CEO Sir Martin Sorrell are taking the destination of Lloyds.