CHI sees off Now to retain £55m Argos account

Johnny Hornby’s CHI & Partners is noted for its account handling abilities and the one of the biggest tests of these for any agency is retaining a big account.

CHI pulled out al the stops in the repitch for Argos and it’s worked: the £55m account is staying at CHI after a final shoot-out against Mark Lund’s agency Now. The other agencies to pitch were WPP’s JWT and RKCR/Y&R (CHI is 49 per cent owned by WPP) and Publicis.

Argos called the pitch following the appointment of Stephen Vowles as marketing director from Ladbrokes despite CHI’s work scoring strongly in awareness studies. Vowles says: “We saw some really exciting ideas on how we can reposition Argos as a more universally appealing, digitally-led business, and we’re looking forward to continuing our strong relationship with the CHI & Partners team to make these ideas a reality.”

Argos, owned by Home Retail Group which also owns Homebase and Habitat, claims to be the UK’s biggest general merchandise retailer and has gone some way to switching from a catalogue-based business to digital ‘click and collect’ although Vowles clearly wants to go further. It will be interesting to see if it sticks with its ‘Aliens’ advertising (above).


  1. New marketing director comes in and has barely got his feet under the desk before calling a pitch, reviewing account held for eight years by CHI, who presumably with that experience know a bit about what they’re doing. After four months of hard work, late nights, working over Christmas, hours and hours of unpaid time, thousands of pounds spent, the decision is made and it’s… CHI.
    Couldn’t they just have saved the time and heartbreak by briefing CHI in the first place, rather than calling a competitive pitch as the first resort?

  2. Neil… Neil… Neil…
    How long have you been in the ad biz? Please refrain from asking incredibly logical questions… Try and remember you are in the ad biz. As the Bard once said… “The New Broom Sweeps Clean.” Henry the Fifth, part two, line three… No wonder Shakespeare was a great copywriter, even though he had to “off” Christopher Marlowe to get the CD job.
    Always happy to be of help.

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