BST beats three to Waterstone’s

BYLN: By Jon Rees

BST.BDDP has won the 1m Waterstone’s account in a pitch against Cogent, Leagas Delaney and Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy.

The WH Smith subsidiary has been looking for an agency since the start of the year following reports that the parent was planning to build the brand along with that of Virgin/Our Price (MW February 3).

The timing of the appoint-ment comes as the Net Book Agreement, the code under which publishers set the price of books, seems in increasing danger of foundering. Supermarket chain Asda led the latest assault when it sold the new John le Carré novel, Our Game, at a discount. If the NBA folds, the bookshop chains will be obliged to boost their ad spend as the fight for market share intensifies.

Waterstone’s has already tested a strategy in the event of the NBA folding. Last year it ran a promotional campaign called “Read into it what you like”, which tested the idea of moving away from national ads to centrally directed, but locally targeted, campaigns. The appointment of BST indicates the company is continuing to put its faith in national ads. BST is the first agency appointment for Martin Lee, who took over from John Mitchinson as Waterstone’s marketing director in January.

It is not yet clear which media will be used for the new campaign.