Testing times for AMV: Camelot reviews and Mercedes goes

AMV BBDO celebrated its 40th birthday in some style late last year (although it would have been nice if Omnicom boss John Wren or BBDO supremo Andrew Robertson could have made the party).

A bit of an anticlimax and since it’s been rather like that for AMV: facing up to life without Sainsbury’s; another structural account Camelot up for review and, this week, learning that Mercedes is off to newly-minted Publicis agency Emil.

After 40 years mostly at the top any agency is bound to hit these periods. But, in the case of AMV, Sainsbury’s work through new agency Wieden+Kennedy has been livelier (although dividing opinion) and while Camelot may be facing tricky market conditions and undergoing a number of management changes AMV’s recent efforts have seemed more like one-off ‘showy’ ads than the consistent campaigns it’s famous for.

The agency, which has been the biggest by billings in the UK for decades, may suffer a further indignity when the Campaign/Nielsen rankings appear shortly. Without Sainsbury’s and with Camelot quiescent the gap between it and its rivals – usually measured in the hundreds of millions – may narrow sharply. Omnicom sibling adam&eveDDB already reckons it’s biggest by income.

So a tough period for AMV and re-installed CEO Cilla Snowball. The agency will doubtless bounce back but that process needs to start soon.

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