TBWA GGT to face 4m twin blow as merger fuels reviews

Marston’s, worth about 2m, is officially seeking a new advertising agency and The British Heart Foundation is “reviewing the situation” following the merger of TBWA Simons Palmer and GGT, due to conflicts of interest.

Last week’s merger of the London agencies followed the announcement that TBWA International and BDDP Worldwide would combine to become TBWA Worldwide.

GGT handles Scottish Courage’s market-leading ale John Smith’s Bitter, prompting the review at Marston’s – an account originally held by Simons Palmer.

John Steel, Marston’s director of brands marketing, confirmed he would be looking for a new agency because of client conflict.

He says: “We have had a very long and fruitful relationship with TBWA Simons Palmer but now we will be looking to find somebody else.”

Marston’s was one of Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson’s first clients when the agency was set up almost ten years ago.

Steel says: “We are one of its oldest clients, and it was our first real contact with advertising.” Steel, who joined Marston’s three months ago from Premier Brands, will lead the review.

The British Heart Foundation account, formerly with Simons Palmer, is likely to move because of GGT’s work for Rothmans.

Maxine Smith, director of communications at The British Heart Foundation, says: “As things stand the agency is in breach of contract with us. It is not a tenable situation and we are quite happy to talk to other agencies.”

The 2m account has been at Simons Palmer for eight years.

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