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New management brooms bring ad reviews at Easyjet, DFS and moneysupermarket

UK budget airline Easyjet is reviewing its creative account at Publicis following a change of top management while furniture megastore DFS is doing the same to its whopper £92m media account, the eighth-biggest in the UK according to Campaign.

And, just to create a trio, price comparison site moneysupermarket.com is reviewing its creative account even though incumbent Dare has won it lots of publicity for its new ad featuring former Labour deputy leader John Prescott.

But moneysupermarket has a new marketing director in the form of Paul Troy from Barclaycard.

The Easyjet move is particularly interesting. We suggested just before Christmas that a review might be on the cards when the company’s new CEO Carolyn McCall brought in Peter Duffy as marketing director from Audi.

Easyjet, currently with Publicis, has never plumbed the advertising depths so enthusiastically explored by Michael O’Leary’s rival Ryanair but, at best, it could be described as cheap and cheerful.

Former Guardian boss McCall and ex-Audi man Duffy are firmly at the other end of the creative spectrum, as is former Barclays marketing director Simon Gulliford who has, rather strangely, been brought in as a consultant on the pitch.

Publicis is still making up its mind whether to repitch although in an unusual public statement it reminded the world (and Easyjet) that it had a long term contract. Will big boss Maurice Levy will be calling up McCall to give her a piece of his Gallic mind?

The other agencies on the list are moneysupermarket’s Dare, a digital specialist until owner Cossette bought MCBD, Grey, The Red Brick Road and VCCP. The Red Brick Road is interesting as it manages deftly to combine class and hard-hitting price offers for Tesco, presumably what Easyjet wants.

The £92m DFS pitch is very unwelcome indeed for Leeds-based media agency Brilliant Media as it makes up a massive chunk of its billings. DFS was founded by Graham (now Lord) Kirkham and has built its business on super-heavy TV advertising.

As one of the few big out of town furniture retailers still standing it is a mightily attractive target for other media agencies and, indeed, creative agencies should its new management be inclined to do that too.

It’s now owned by Poundland owner Advent International (definitely cheap and cheerful but not a big advertiser) and run by former Boots boss Richard Baker.

Baker learned his marketing trade as one of Alan Leighton’s ‘Martians’ at the confectionery company and then followed his boss to Asda before taking the reins at Boots.

The issue for moneysupermarket, as indeed it is for other big spending price comparison sites gocompare and comparethemarket, is the wear out factor with its ads. Frontman comedian Omid Djalili grates after a while (we’re assuming Prezza hasn’t been given a long term contract). Indeed my old chum Stuart Smith speculated recently (and presciently) that he is indeed wearing out.

You don’t need to change the agency to change the campaign of course, but usually clients do.

Gocompare, which features a noisy tenor, was recently voted the most irritating ad in the UK in some poll or other. That shouldn’t bother the client, the whole point is to get noticed and the campaign, by industry veterans Chris Wilkins and Sian Vickers, certainly does that.

But being noisy and irritating grates on many clients however much money the campaign brings in. It used to be called the chairman’s wife syndrome.

Interestingly the company’s latest commercial is a Keystone Cops/silent movie take in which the tenor makes an appearance but we can’t hear him.

Keystone Comparisons

And as for those damned meerkats…

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Alan Leighton Asda brilliant media Carolyn McCall Chris Wilkins comparethemarket dare dfs easyJet GoCompare john Prescott lord kirkham mars Maurice Levy meerkats moneysupermarket Omid Djalili Paul Troy Peter Duffy publicis Richard Baker Sian Vickers Simon Gulliford

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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