Paul Simons: a “fresh perspective” doesn’t always require an agency pitch Sainsbury’s

It is the week of the mega accounts moving home, first M&S and two days later Sainsbury’s – each worth around £60m. In the US this equates to c. $400m annual media spend on a per capita basis at today’s rubbish exchange rate of 1.3.

sarah_warbyIn a previous comment about the M&S move from RKCR/Y&R to Grey I suggested that weak platitudes such as “a fresh pair of eyes” could be the reason to move such a huge account. Only one day later Sarah Warby (left), marketing director of Sainsbury’s, said “…it was important to get a fresh perspective.” Come on Sarah, that’s a wimpy statement after a 35-year relationship.

Just like M&S this feels like the client has a problem and changing the ad agency looks like action.

I would prefer to hear what the CEO has to say as the captain of the ship. Such as “our sector is going through massive change and we need to make sure we are fit for purpose going forwards. In that case all aspects of our business are under review.”. This makes more sense to me than “it was important to get a fresh perspective.” Rather than putting several advertising agencies through an expensive competitive pitch why not bring in some heavy lifting experts to give you a fresh perspective?

However I’m sure Wieden+Kennedy is a worthy winner, if only for their clear description of what they do. “W&K is a creatively driven advertising agency that creates strong and provocative relationships between good companies and their customers.” The clichés of digital, integrated, media neutral, multi-channel, consumers, insights, social, blah blah are all absent and they make it clear they are an advertising agency. Hurrah, good for them and about time too.

There’s so much gobbledygook around it makes working out what a particular business actually does an exercise in detection.

Neil Christie and his team at W+K run a tight ship with consistently good to excellent work. They have also had their apprenticeship babysitting the Tesco account.

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About Paul Simons

Paul joined Cadbury-Schweppes in brand management and then moved to United Biscuits. He switched to advertising in his late 20s, at Cogent Elliott and then Gold Greenlees Trott. He founded Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson in the late 80s, one of the leading creative agencies of the 90s. Simons Palmer then merged with TBWA to create a top ten agency. Paul then joined O&M as chairman & CEO of the UK group. After three years he left to create a new AIM-quoted advertising group Cagney Plc. He is now a consultant to a number of client companies. Paul also shares his thoughts on his blog. Visit Paul Simons Blog.