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BBH adds Experian to new business haul – presenting yet another creative challenge

free-credit-check1BBH has beaten Hometown, J. Walter Thompson and Saatchi Masius to win Experian’s CreditExpert account, which lets consumers access their credit scores. As such it’s hardly the world’s most cuddly product (most people hate the idea that some computer or algorithm is deciding their financial present and future) but business is business.

And business seems to mean new business for BBH at the moment which has been pulling out all the stops to reel them in. It’s even made a YouTube video – ostensibly for recruitment purposes – but also, surely, aimed at clients too.

It used to be said of BBH chairman Simon Sherwood that one of his roles in life was to say ‘No’ – politely – to would-be clients. BBH only wanted to deal with the elite.

Such a view is no longer as tenable; the big ad spenders these days aren’t the old blue chips like Persil, Cadbury and Heinz. Speaking of which, Heinz is now at BBH, although it’s a radically different Heinz, grinding down agency terms with the worst of them.

So BBH (now wholly owned by Publicis Groupe which could do with some growth from somewhere/anywhere) has to cut its cloth rather differently. It’s making much of its ‘integrated’ product, for example, something that used to be kept firmly below stairs at most top London agencies (‘integrated’ meaning sales promotion and below-the-line in yesterday’s rather more revealing language).

Quite a transformation in fact in the post Bogle and Hegarty era. What the agency now needs to do is show that it can produce work on a par with its glories of yesteryear, even if it takes a somewhat different form. With clients like Experian, Heinz and, biggest of the lot, Tesco that’s quite a challenge.

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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.
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