That didn’t take them long. Two years after losing longstanding supermarket client Sainsbury’s to Wieden+Kennedy AMV BBDO has bounced back, winning Walmart-owned Asda in the UK from Saatchi & Saatchi.
Asda chief customer officer Andy Murray says: “We are delighted to appoint AMV BBDO, their brilliant team and inspiring work has given us real confidence that they understand Asda and how to connect with our value-seeking busy customers.
“We are all excited about working together and the work we will produce over the next stage of our growth. I also want to thank Saatchi & Saatchi for their partnership and creativity over the past two years.”
AMV group CEO Cilla Snowball (below) says: “We’re excited to be partnering with such an iconic brand. This is an important moment for the agency and our integrated team. We’re raring to go and can’t wait to get behind Asda’s plans for growth.”
Asda, which only re-appointed Saatchi a couple of years ago after a brief stay at VCCP, is touting a new agency ‘ecosystem” with AMV leading a group of affiliated agencies including fashion agency Wednesday (Asda owns the George clothes brand), Redwood, Proximity and production agency EG+. Publicis Groupe’s Blue449 keeps the media account.
Historically one of the UK’s biggest spenders on advertising – exceeding Sainsbury’s £40m budget – Asda has struggled recently against discounters Aldi and Lidl (its low prices were its main selling point) while at the same time having to send big dividend payments back to owner Walmart, battling Amazon online in the US.
AMV, fighting back after a tough couple of years, saw its lead as the UK’s biggest billing creative agency cut to “just” £96m over second-placed Omnicom sibling adam&eveDDB in this year’s Nielsen rankings. Asda should keep it on top in the forseeable future although its days of spending £100m or so may be over.