Did Kevin bring home the BT bacon for Publicis Groupe?

BT has appointed Publicis Groupe to handle a brand relaunch campaign, after 23 years of working with AMV BBDO on its main brand advertising.

Could this be a reward for Saatchi & Saatchi’s many years of bringing Kevin Bacon to the nation in its campaigns for BT’s mobile division, EE? It was Saatchis who last handled BT’s main account back in the 1990s, before it moved to AMV.

There have been recent changes in the marketing department at BT which brought EE and BT marketing closer together. Peter Jeavons, who was in charge of EE marketing for six years, is now overall director of marketing communications for BT.

Jeavons’ effective predecessor, BT’s group chief brand and marketing officer, Zaid Al-Qassab, recently left for Channel 4. He very nicely tweeted out farewells to all his agencies, and he sounded most effusive of all about Saatchi & Saatchi. He wrote: “I’ve spent 25 of my 26 years in marketing working with you, so next week will feel really odd. Thanks for being such amazing friends and partners.”

A spokeswoman says that BT has decided to “change its approach” and will still work with AMV alongside its roster of agencies, which includes Karmarama, Wunderman Thomson, AnalogFolk, and Now. AMV’s work for BT hasn’t been as memorable as it once was, although there was a great ad for BT Sport ahead of the Women’s World Cup.

BT spent £109.3 million last year, according to Neilsen, making it the fourth biggest advertiser in the UK. So a slice of it isn’t a bad compensation for Publicis Groupe, which came frustratingly close to wrangling Centrica from WPP this week.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.