Lowe London is tipped to win the £150m Unilever-owned Walls ice cream global business from incumbent McCann Erickson. It is understood that the decision is due to be announced later this week.
The news will be a significant boost to Lowe, which has struggled to find its feet since the loss of the £50m Tesco business to Sir Frank Lowe’s start-up agency, The Red Brick Road, in late 2005.
The agency then had to overcome the legacy of Garry Lace, who was suspended from the agency and later left over rumours that he had talks with Lowe.
Despite retaining Ed Morris as executive creative director and planning director Rebecca Morgan and bringing in agency veteran Amanda Walsh as chief executive, Lowe has been beset by rumours of in-fighting and speculation that Walsh was planning to leave.
It has won limited new business, including the £9m John Lewis account in 2006 and beer brand Becks last August. The agency’s new business director, Judy Mitchem, left before Christmas without a job to go to.
The loss of Walls will be a major blow for McCann Erickson, which has worked on the Walls brand, previously part of Bird’s Eye Walls, since the mid-1980s. It won the Magnum business from Lowe Lintas in 2001.
The account move coincides with the departure of McCann chief executive Stephen Whyte, who has resigned.
The Walls pitch, which also included DDB London, was called in July last year. It is understood that McCann Erickson had been given a final chance to prove itself on the account before it went to a pitch. The full review began in September.
Lowe denies it has won the account.