Will Barclays retention fire BBH back to the top?

Agencies will tell you that retaining a big account in a pitch is a bigger achievement – and more satisfying – than landing a newbie.

BBH is feeling pretty pleased with itself after retaining the £30m or so Barclays account against stiff competition from AMV BBDO, all-conquering Mother and Publicis (which owns BBH.)

MD Karen Martin says: “We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve produced with Barclays over the past 17 years, but we never rest on our laurels. We pitched against some of the best agencies in town and our deep expertise and future-facing skills proved that we continue to be the best creative partner for Barclays as it enters its next chapter.”

CCO Ian Heartfield says: “Barclays is an iconic British brand that one third of the UK bank with. It isn’t just a bank, it’s the bank. And it belongs at BBH.”

BBH has recovered much of its mojo recently under CEO Neil Munn after the string of departures that followed its sale to Publicis. Tesco seems to be motoring nicely and its work for Audi is approaching its formerly stellar level. Audi owner VW seems to have got the message, taking VW Commercial Vehicles out of adam&eveDDB and giving it to BBH.

But earlier this year BBH lost another biggie, Virgin Media, to adam&eve, declining to repitch. Virgin Media is a notoriously high maintenance account and one suspects that some at BBH weren’t sorry to see it go but it’s a big slice of income. Losing Barclays in its wake would have verged on a crisis.

Retaining Barclays could be a game changer for BBH.

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