Sainsbury’s lines up top quartet for possible pitch

Sainsbury’s is reviewing its £60m creative account and it seems that Mother, MullenLowe and Wieden+Kennedy are lining up against AMV BBDO, which has held the account since since 1981 with the exception of a brief interregnum at M&C Saatchi. But it isn’t a formal pitch, according to Campaign, although the AAR is involved. Maybe some of you understand these things..

As lists go it seems sensible enough. All the agencies know retail: Mother handles Boots, MullenLowe handled Morrisons before it went to Publicis, Wieden+Kennedy had a bash at Tesco and now handles TK Maxx. At one point Sainsbury’s is believed to have talked to newbies Lucky Generals and Joint. CHI/The&Partnership might have been expected to be a contender but it’s going for Marks & Spencer instead, in a ‘closed’ WPP pitch. CHI handles Argos which Sainsbury’s is in the process of buying.

mog_3517105bWhile agencies in France and Germany seem to produce brilliant retail ads out of a hat British agencies find this far more difficult, apart from some of their all-singing and dancing Christmas efforts (like Sainsbury’s Mog, left). Which probably says something about retailers, particularly supermarkets, as clients. They’re obsessed with price (the more so in the post-Aldi and Lidl era) and short-term promotions. Which doesn’t leave much left over for proper ads through the year. Waitrose may prove to be the exception at adam&eveDDB.

On the face of it it’s hard to see how an agency, in these circumstances, could have done a much better job than AMV. How will Sainsbury’s work out if one of these contenders can do it better? That’s hard to see as well unless they produce a full-on campaign for the pitch – assuming Sainsbury’s has one, of course.

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Could be an expensive business for somebody.


Lucky Generals tell me they weren’t involved. Why not?

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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.
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