Bates UK loses £21m Royal Mail

Beleaguered ad agency Bates UK has lost the £21m Royal Mail advertising account. The decision ends an eight-year relationship as Bates endures one of the most dismal periods in its history.

Beleaguered ad agency Bates UK has lost the &£21m Royal Mail advertising account. The decision ends an eight-year relationship as Bates endures one of the most dismal periods in its history.

After putting the pitch out to tender, Royal Mail has chosen to brief four groups of agencies in an effort to take a more integrated approach to its marketing: Grey Worldwide London and Joshua; M&C Saatchi, Saatchi Village and Lida; Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, Proximity London and Wolff Olins; and J Walter Thompson, OgilvyOne and Landor. Following organisational reshuffles which delayed the review, Royal Mail is eager to reach a decision quickly – the winning group should be selected early in May.

Bates’ failure to make the shortlist comes at a bad time for the agency. Last week it lost the &£17m Woolworths business to Bartle Bogle Hegarty (MW last week).

Last month it also lost out in a pitch for the Sky+ business, and it is tipped to lose the $100m (&£63.5m) global advertising business for Wella after the haircare company was acquired by Procter & Gamble last month (MW March 18). At the end of last year, Bates lost the &£3.3m Safeway business to Clemmow Hornby Inge.

Royal Mail spent &£21m on advertising last year, a decrease of almost &£10m on 2001, as the cost-cutting regime implemented by chairman Allan Leighton took effect.

  • A second review will decide the fate of the Royal Mail’s &£8m sales promotion business, which is handled by Claydon Heeley Jones Mason and Triangle Communications.

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