Money talks as Dixons moves Carphone into AMV BBDO

Dixons Carphone, the result of a merger between Dixons (which owns Currys) and Carphone Warehouse in 2014 has finally consolidated most of its creative business into AMV BBDO, in media terms about £60m plus.

The big loser is independent agency Brothers and Sisters which created the rumbustious Keith Lemon online campaign for Carphone Warehouse. This now moves into AMV.

Marketing director Matt Walburn says: “Dixons Carphone can confirm, as part of its commitment to creating new efficiencies in the company since merger and after a thorough procurement process, it has made the decision to consolidate all of its advertising to AMV.

“The current incumbent agency of Carphone Warehouse, Brothers and Sisters, will remain part of Dixons Carphone’s roster and is part of ongoing discussions about potential digital and content projects.”

CHI, which handled Carphone before it went to Brothers & Sisters also works on projects for Dixons Carphone, notably its iD “challenger” mobile network.

The year hasn’t started well for London’s indie agencies. Brothers and Sisters had done nothing wrong on Carphone while Mother found out earlier this week that Walgreens Boots was consolidating into WPP, bringing to an end a successful client/agency relationship stemming from 2003.

So why move? Money of course – the big holding company networks (Omnicom owns AMV BBDO) – can undercut their smaller brethren by offering savings, not necessarily on creative but media and other activities too, that independent outfits can’t match.

Logically the consequence of clients in hock to “shareholder value” (and their bonuses) and the related rise of procurement will mean that every big ad account ends up at four or five holding companies.

Nothing wrong with AMV, of course. Under Omnicom It’s managed to retain most of the properties of the independent agency it used to be. But marketing director Walburn’s comment about procurement-driven “new efficiencies” indicates clearly enough that this is about money.

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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.

One comment

  1. “Brothers and Sisters had done nothing wrong on Carphone”. Has he seen the ads!!??