Pirelli has ended its six year relationship with Young & Rubicam after an acrimonious split, and handed its &£12m international advertising account to the new London office of Italian agency Armando Testa.
The London Testa office was set up earlier this year by ex-Y&R Pirelli account managing director David Grey.
Y&R blames the split on creative differences. It says Pirelli disagreed with its plans for an ad featuring Brazilian footballer Ronaldo based on the epic chariot race in the film Ben Hur, and wanted to use a different star.
Y&R Europe chairman Bruno Widmer says: “We were asked to devise a commercial featuring an alternative brand spokesperson.”
But sources close to the company suggest the differences between the two were greater than just creative problems.
Pirelli advertising and PR manager Andrea Kerbaker says: “We will not enter into details about our relationship with Y&R.”
Testa will handle the account from September.
Y&R’s media planning arm, the Media Edge, and buying agency, Mediapolis, are expected to handle the account until then.
Y&R won the tyre manufacturer’s account in 1993, and created the famous “Power is nothing without control” campaign, which included the famous execution of the athlete Carl Lewis wearing red stilettos.