Adam&eveDDB seems to have won the Lloyds Bank account, one of the UK’s biggest at about £100m, from WPP’s RKCR/Y&R.
In some ways this is the least surprising news of the year, Lloyds has always been a fan of A&E founders James Murphy, David Golding and Ben Priest who previously toiled at RKCR.
A&E works on Halifax, also owned by Lloyds Banking Group, and recently handled a TV campaign to celebrate Lloyds’ 250th anniversary (below). This one rather divided opinion but I think it gets better the more you see it.
WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell pulled out all the stops to keep the business however, reportedly (by us) forming a ‘Team Green’ of WPP people from various agencies to work on the pitch. There are also rumours that he plans to parachute in CHI/The&Partnership’s Johnny Hornby to Y&R, through some form of merger, to try to replicate the magic RKCR worked on Y&R for a few years. Hornby’s agency is 49 per cent owned by WPP so a deal is by no means certain.
The move leaves RKCR/Y&R in some disarray and the rumours of an imminent deal won’t help. Its flagship account is now Marks & Spencer and it will be some relief to remaining RKCR founder Mark Roalfe that A&E is precluded from this – presumably – as it handles John Lewis and Waitrose.
A&E’s biggest problem is dealing with all the new business that’s flooded in over the past two years, including Virgin Atlantic, also from Y&R. It recently won a potentially big Pears assignment from Unilever and is also working for H&M on its David Beckham brand.
A&E does handle Volkswagen in the UK though. Media owners everywhere are bracing themselves for VW pulling its ads in the wake of the disastrous emissions scandal. So there’ll be a few A&E-ites with time on their hands.