HHCL grabs 10m ITV from M&C

ITV has moved its advertising account, worth up to 10m, from M&C Saatchi to HHCL & Partners in an attempt to rejuvenate its dowdy image and build ratings. HHCL fought off competition from TBWA Simons Palmer and Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters besides M&C Saatchi, which was responsible for the campaign promoting ITV as “Britain’s most popular button”. ITV’s new marketing and commercial director John Hardie says he was impressed with HHCL’s work on the AA, which was successfully moved on from a stagnant membership club to “the fourth emergency service”. He adds: “It was genuinely very difficult to make the decision, given the quality of the strategic and creative thinking. I’ve always admired HHCL’s work.”

HHCL joint chief executive Rupert Howell says: “ITV has allowed the BBC to become more commercial than it is. It has allowed itself to be saddled with a slightly dowdy image.” The agency will have input into promoting the network and its programmes to both viewers and the trade. Motive retains the media account. Plans to turn round ITV’s de-clining audience share will be announced on Monday (January 12). The company’s share of viewing fell from 38.1 per cent to 33.5 per cent between 1993 and 1996. Hardie – managing director of cosmetics and toiletries (Europe) at Procter & Gamble before taking up his post at ITV – called for a review of the account on his first day at the company in November. He is said to have a 40m marketing budget at his disposal to help bolster ITV’s position.

HHCL has been appointed by frozen food retailer Iceland for a six-month branding project. Iceland’s TV advertising continues to be handled by Tom Reddy Advertising.

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