News International has split from Arc Advertising only two weeks after re-appointing the agency to handle its 4m Sunday Times account.
The seven-year relationship with NI is believed to have soured after arguments over remuneration and alleged client conflicts within the Arc group. It is understood both sides are now involved in legal negotiations to sever their existing contractual links.
A News International statement blames failure to agree terms for the ending of the relationship. But the company refuses to make any further comment.
Arc’s reappointment to The Sunday Times after it lost the 7m Times account to Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe in December surprised some observers.
Many had expected NI to pull in a second new agency. Arc has handled the account since 1988.
At the time of the reappointment, Times Newspapers general manager Chris Maybury said: “Arc proved that its many years of experience on the brand gave it the edge. We are pleased to be continuing a successful relationship.”
However, Ogilvy & Mather, which was the strong favourite to pick up The Sunday Times account, was appointed last week. The final pitch was contested by Arc, EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper, and Publicis.
The switch is embarrassing for NI which was accused of having “no respect for the advertising process” and “amateurism” by some agencies following The Times pitch (MW December 8).