Insurance giant Axa Sun Life is understood to have appointed BMP Optimum to its 6m media planning and buying account.
The account was formerly handled by Eurospace – the TBWA and TMD Carat joint venture – but when TBWA pulled its media buying from Eurospace, Axa decided to review the business (MW May 22 1997).
It is understood that TMD Carat has been talking to Axa at its French headquarters, along with Omnicom agencies Manning Gottlieb Media and BMP, although there was no formal pitch. Optimum Media Direction handles the business globally from its French head office.
Sources close to the company suggest Axa is planning a major advertising campaign in the spring – in the UK the insurer has low brand awareness.
Last year, Axa Equity & Law merged with Sun Life in the UK to form new life company Axa Sun Life. Axa will be used as the consumer brand and direct sales of life and pension products, while Sun Life will be reserved for independent financial advisers.
TBWA retains the above-the line advertising business. Last year, Axa was accused of racial bias when the image of a black man in a pension plan brochure was pulled and replaced with one of a white woman.
Axa Provincial, the UK general insurance arm of Sun Life and Provincial Holdings, has appointed Gary Shaughnessy to the newly created role of marketing director from March 1.
Shaughnessy, who was previously general manager of marketing for AA Financial Services, will spearhead a new marketing drive for general insurance personal and com- mercial lines and promote the Axa brand throughout the UK this year.