Which direction will Walkers take as it abandons 22-year AMV BBDO?

Adland brings constant reminders of the efficacy of Nigel Bogle’s remark – no agency is more than three calls away from a crisis – and AMV BBDO, long Britain’s biggest and one of its most admired agencies – has had its third: Walkers Crisps.

The PepsiCo owned brand is looking for a “new perspective” on its advertising, one that doesn’t include 22-year incumbent AMV BBDO. The other phone calls came from similarly longstanding clients Sainsbury’s (since replaced by Asda) and BT, which has departed for Saatchi & Saatchi.

To cap it all AMV was unseated at the top of the Campaign/Nielsen creative agency ranking for 2019 by Omnicom sibling adam&eveDDB.

So it’s a pretty troubled in-tray for CEO Sarah Douglas, who took over from long-serving boss Cilla Snowball (there’s clearly a theme here) who picked up the pieces (she was chairman) when CEO Ian Pearman departed suddenly to head to new things in Singapore. Snowball’s successor as chairman Justin Pahl surprised people when he left for the newly minted VMLY&R.

Walkers over the years has done wonders for the bank balance of former footballer (and now sports host) Gary Lineker, in a long series of ads mostly directed by Paul Weiland. But Lineker, now in his 60th year, is a no longer quite the cheeky chappie he was although he’s done a grand job for Walkers.

Who will Walkers turn to? There are some interesting new creative agencies on the block: Uncommon Creative Studio and James Murphy, David Golding and Ian Heartfield’s start-up New Creative Arts to name two. Or does Walker’s “new marketing perspective” mean a data-driven approach? Johnny Hornby’s The&Partnership may be girding its loins.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.

3 comments

  1. Avatar

    Amazingly poor and disrespectful article.

    You fail to mention any of other phone calls AMV had in the same period of time. Asda. Ford. MacMillan. Rexona.

    Do you just copy and paste the articles from Campaign and then ad a Daily Mail spin to it?

    Get a life. Stop slagging off agencies. Stop slagging off worl. It’s lazy.

  2. Avatar

    No

  3. Avatar
    Ad man for sure

    The article failed to mention Camelot too.

    Losing Sainsbury’s, Camelot, BT and Walkers in 4 years isn’t pretty. Domestic jewels that win awards and that people join and stay to work on are hard to replace.

    I don’t think it’s poor or disrespectful to write an article highlighting that AMV has lost its way. It’s probably the 4th biggest UK agency by Nielsen billings right now without Walkers which is quite a fall having been number 1 for 20 years.

    Clearly ‘not ian pearman’ thinks all is well. I’d bet she or he isn’t one of the 40 or 50 redundancies AMV are making right now.

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