Saatchi & Saatchi loses Standard Life account

Standard Life has served notice on its advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. The Edinburgh-based financial services company has called a review of its 15m advertising account.

Standard Life has served notice on its advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. The Edinburgh-based financial services company has called a review of its £15m advertising account.

A spokesman says the decision was triggered by Saatchi & Saatchi joining the roster of a “direct competitor”. Earlier this year the Publicis-owned agency was appointed to handle the £15m advertising account for Axa, after the French-owned insurance and pensions company scrapped an earlier review of its business ( May 28).

He says: “We now plan to appoint an above-the-line agency which is solely focused on our own business and strategy.”

Saatchi & Saatchi was appointed in September 2006 ahead of Standard Life’s planned demutualisation and floating on the London Stock Exchange (MW†September 27, 2006). However, Saatchi & Saatchi has only done strategic projects for the financial company since it was appointed about 18 months ago, and did not produce any advertising.

The review marks a number of changes at Standard Life, which earlier this year appointed former Barclays group marketing director Simon Gulliford (pictured) as its first chief marketing officer (MW February 13).

Gulliford reports to group chief executive Sandy Crombie and sits on the group executive board. His responsibilities include global marketing and communications strategy across the group and overseeing the existing marketing teams across the assurance, bank and healthcare arms. At Barclays, he was responsible for appointing Bartle Bogle Hegarty as its advertising agency.

Robert Senior, UK chief executive of SSF Group, which encompasses Saatchi & Saatchi and Fallon, says “The scope of the AXA account has grown and owing to the irreconcilable conflict, we’ve parted company with Standard Life. Over the past 18 months, we’ve enjoyed working with Standard Life on a number of strategic projects while they’ve been restructuring their marketing department.”

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