McCann London under pressure already as £35m HTC hunts for launch agency

Taiwan-based mobile handset giant HTC is reported by Campaign to be holding a pitch for the launch of another new phone despite only appointing McCann London to handle its £35m account in February this year.

The company is currently running a campaign by Amp London, a relative minnow compared to the likes of McCann.

The HTC move looks to be the inevitable consequence of the hiring of a new marketing director, Phil Roberson from mobile company Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile).

But McCann globally is suffering a spot of turbulence at the moment; new Worldgroup boss Nick Brien is shaking the tree as hard as he can, chief strategy officer Lee Daley resigned spectacularly this week after just a year in the role and Brien’s pick of former Mother US founder Linus Karlsson as chairman and CCO of both New York and London has already resulted in the departures of senior creative staff (and some Scandinavian hirings).

Bringing in Karlsson was always a high risk choice. While his record at Mother is brilliant that agency is a world apart from Interpublic-owned McCann, the ultimate Madison Avenue Mad Men-style agency.

In London countless executives have tried to change the agency’s style, essentially to make it more creative, with almost no success. The most recent high profile name to try and fail was HHCL founder and former ITV marketing boss Rupert Howell.

Karlsson is certainly ‘creative’ but is anyone else?

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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.