Associated Newspapers has handed the &£2m account for its Metro free newspapers to Bean Andrews Norways Cramphorn without a pitch. The move is understood to take Metro into TV advertising for the first time.
The business includes brand and tactical advertising for Metro freesheets in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
It was understood that the account had been handled by Bates UK and that the agency had won the business in tandem with winning Associated’s &£6m Evening Standard account.
But Toby Hoare, Bates’ chief executive, denies it has held the account and says the agency has never produced a single ad for the newspaper. He questions why Metro would need an ad agency as it is a free paper and is awash with advertising.
Mike Anderson, managing director of Metro, was unavailable for comment but it is understood that new advertising, which will break later this year, will include Metro’s first TV campaign.
Advertisers have complained about the high cost of booking space in the papers, which can be more expensive than taking space in national papers.
But Anderson claims that Metro delivers a unique readership of young ABC1 readers.
In March, distribution for London Metro reached 360,000 copies.