Three on list for Harper Collins work

Publisher Harper Collins is looking for its first UK ad agency and has hired broker Agency Assessments to help.

A three-strong shortlist consisting of Young & Rubicam, Banks Hoggins O’Shea and Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson has been drawn up for the £1m-plus account.

The publishing house will concentrate the majority of its ad spend on campaigns highlighting a roster of “flagship authors”, including Jeffrey Archer, Barbara Taylor Bradford and James Herbert. It may consider a corporate campaign at a later stage.

“We are considering an agency either as full-service or creative-only,” says Harper Collins marketing director David Singer. “The decision will be governed by the pitch. Billings will be around £1m initially and then we will take stock.”

At present, Harper Collins divides its budget between media buyer Total Media and its in-house creative team, supplemented by freelance staff.

“The advertising has to step up a gear; the major thrust is to convince customers they want to buy our books. The secondary need is to retain our competitive edge within the publishing industry,” says Singer.

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