Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest has pulled out of The Guardian’s review because of what is believed to be an imminent launch from its client Metro that would conflict with future plans within The Guardian.
Media owners are currently examining how and where they can extend their newspaper brands in the face of circulation decline and as digital rivals such as blogs and podcasts grow in frequency and relevance. But it is the prospect of launching a London evening newspaper that is believed to be the sticking point preventing VCCP from pitching for The Guardian.
Both Associated Newspapers, which owns Metro, and Guardian Newspapers Limited have registered interest in the Transport for London contract to distribute a free newspaper on London Underground. TfL will invite shortlisted companies to tender next month and a winner is due to be announced by the autumn.
It is understood Metro knew of VCCP’s involvement in The Guardian review and had no problems with it, but when the free newspaper’s commercial team revealed to the agency plans for a new Metro-branded launch, VCCP withdrew from the pitch.
â¢ Separately, News International – which has registered “thelondonpaper” as a name and logo with the Patent Office – has appointed Michael Craig, global key account director at Metro International as sales director for its proposed London evening free paper. But an industry source says that little should be read into “all the posturing” going on at News International and says: “There are other strong newspaper groups with a genuine interest in providing London with a new evening paper.”
VCCP’s withdrawal leaves The Guardian pitch contested by Weiden & Kennedy, Fallon and Red Brick Road.