Sometime soon there should be some white smoke signifying that British Gas has appointed a new creative agency, following a marathon pitch. This could be deciding to stay put at the&Partnership, formerly CHI & Partners.
Johnny Hornby’s agency has handled BG for a scarcely believable 19 years and has made it through to the last two against Mother, having seen off AMV BBDO and BBH en route.
No-one is more tigerish at retaining business than Hornby (in a laid back kinda way) while Sarah Golding, CEO of T&P London, is no slouch either.
British Gas is hardly flavour of the month in the UK at the moment as energy bills go through the roof but the perennially unpopular former state-owned operator (it was privatised by Mrs T back in the 1980s) is at least still with us whereas many of its newer, cheaper rivals have gone to the wall.
Mother is the strongest of opponents. It too has a longish history – 25 years – with a good new business record over the past couple of years and standout work for big companies including IKEA and KFC. It has, though, fallen at the last hurdle in a couple of big pitches.
So we have a fascinating contest between the tried and trusted and an agency that puts clients on their mettle as it regularly produces the unexpected. A fly on the wall would doubtless be party to some interesting discussions.