Uncommon challenges WPP in last round of BA pitch – might the two join forces?

Uncommon is reportedly challenging WPP in the last round of the British Airways pitch. Relative newbie Uncommon, a breakaway from WPP’s Grey in 2017, is an interesting choice by BA to challenge incumbent WPP’s team based around Ogilvy.

There is speculation in UK adland that WPP may pre-empt matters by striking a deal to buy Uncommon. Relations between the two parties are said to be friendly. BA might then feel all its boxes had been ticked. Uncommon might have the same kind of creative impact on WPP in UK that Ogilvy offshoot David has in the US.

BA, now owned buy International Airliners Group (IAG) is still regarded as one of the UK’s flagship ad accounts although most people would would be hard-pressed to remember anything notable, certainly since BBH lost the business several years ago.

Even so, winning BA would the biggest feather in Uncommon’s already well-stuffed cap. The agency recently announced the formation of a customer experience (CX) operation, which may be no coincidence.

BA has had a rocky decade or so, with cuts in customer service, staff disputes and technology issues (on top of the pandemic) stretching the loyalty of even its traditional supporters. A return to big ticket advertising may be on the cards, maybe to Uncommon’s advantage, wherever it finds itself.

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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.

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