JWT splits from 5m Nintendo

J Walter Thompson has resigned the 5m (Register-MEAL) Nintendo UK advertising account, leaving its new UK owners Total Home Entertainment (THE) urgently seeking an agency.

JWT resigned the business last Friday, although THE thought the agency would remain with Nintendo until at least December.

Speculation about a possible split surfaced two weeks ago (MW September 1), soon after THE took over the marketing, sales and distribution of Nintendo UK last month (MW August 4).

JWT says the split is because of a change of marketing strategy at Nintendo.

“As an agency, we feel that it is vital to take a long-term view of both the market and, therefore, the marketing of a brand,” says JWT chief executive Dominic Proctor. “Unfortunately, having discussed the future with them, we do not feel that Nintendo’s new owners share that philosophy.”

JWT won the account in July 1993, at which time it was valued at about 12m. But THE diverted this year’s marketing budget away from advertising and into retailer support. The pre-Christmas ad blitz is now valued at about 1.5m.

There will be a 20m pan-European campaign for the Nintendo Ultra-64 games machine next year, but JWT would have had to repitch for the account.

THE managing director Alan Taylor says the company is meeting other agencies. He claims JWT’s withdrawal will not be harmful, even though it comes in the run up to the crucial Christmas buying season. “We have a major commitment to support the brand and we have got everything covered. We may just be appointing earlier than we intended.”

THE has signed a two-year, 1m ad and publicity deal with the Premier League that involves the development of a Premier League-backed 3D football game for the Ultra-64.

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