Alliance overhauls £45m direct roster

Bank believes dearth of branches across UK makes direct marketing key to winning customers

Alliance & Leicester is reviewing its &£45m direct marketing account, held by EHS Brann, Proximity London and Leicester sales promotion agency Thorndyke.

The bank is deciding whether to increase or reduce the number of agencies it uses and may also take production work in house.

Alliance & Leicester director of marketing services Stephen Leonard says: “We’re looking at the way we work with agencies. The review could result in us using more or fewer agencies but we are looking for more flexibility across different direct marketing projects.”

The bank is now placing all of its marketing emphasis on direct marketing, after its relationship with D’Arcy ended in December, when the agency resigned the account. Leonard says he has no plans to appoint another advertising agency.

There are only 320 Alliance & Leicester branches in the UK. Leonard says this makes direct marketing key to recruiting customers for products such as personal loans.

Leonard was appointed to the role of marketing services director in January. Former Alliance & Leicester marketing director Tim Pile joined Sainsbury’s Bank in January as chief executive (MW January 4).

Proximity London remained on the direct marketing roster following a review last April. This saw EHS Brann (then Realtime) added to the roster in place of TBWA/ GGT Direct, which resigned from the pitch.

The bank has had a turbulent two years. Last year it was forced to ditch growth targets of six per cent because of the economic slowdown. And this year analysts voiced concerns that the company has gone downmarket and questioned its strategy.

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