Of all the agencies in London that don’t do ‘safe’ Mother and Wieden+Kennedy are probably the two stand-outs.
Mother didn’t pitch for Tesco’s £110m account (probably because it has Boots) but Wieden+Kennedy (which didn’t seem at all like a Tesco agency when this pitch process began) has beaten VCCP and TBWA Manchester to the whopper account.
Tesco has done this before of course, appointing the then creative hotshop Lowe Howard-Spink to the account when it moved from Saatchi & Saatchi twenty-odd years ago. Nobody knew then if this was because of Lowe’s creative firepower or boss Frank Lowe’s Svengali-like attributes.
It’s doubtful if the amiable (and capable) Neil Christie, boss of W+K London has quite such characteristics so Tesco has clearly decided that creativity is going to help get it out the mess (falling share and profits) it finds itself in although it remains by far the UK’s biggest retailer.
So it looks like all change at Tesco, with previous agency The Red Brick Road’s ‘Every Little Helps’ destined for a rather overdue retirement. And we’ll see a much bigger W+K too, probably with a load of ex-TRBR staffers.
A while ago we asked Christie why the agency wasn’t as high up the billings table as it should have been, given its creative credentials. Christie rather scoffed at such a measure of merit, citing income (obviously) and the work (ditto) as more important.
Well now he’s got the billings too.
Wieden+Kennedy’s first press release stated that it had been appointed to handle Tesco’s struggling Fresh & Easy venture in the US. It hasn’t, the business is staying with Deutsch (for now anyway). Not a good start with the Tesco-istas.