Lowe loses £45m Tesco account as senior creatives quit for start-up

LONDON - Lowe has lost its £45m Tesco advertising account to Sir Frank Lowe, Tesco confirmed this evening at 6pm after Brand Republic broke the news earlier today, as the senior creative team on the account quit to join the start-up agency.

The decision brings to an end a 16-year relationship between Lowe and Tesco. The loss of the account has also seen Lowe call off its merger with DFGW.

Garry Lace, CEO of Lowe, said: "This is obviously very disappointing for all of us. We have enjoyed a highly successful working relationship with Tesco over the years. We are very proud of the work we have done on their behalf and wish them every continued success at their new agency."

Lowe said that no decision has yet been reached about what this change will mean to the staff at Lowe London who work primarily on the Tesco account.

"Internally, my priority is to look after our people," Lace said. "We obviously don't want to lose talented staff, but in a situation like this we want to make any transition as smooth and painless as possible for all involved.

Sam Cartmell and Jason Lawes have quit Lowe to join Sir Frank Lowe's start-up agency.

Last Thursday, it was revealed that Sir Frank was starting up an agency and that Lowe chairman Paul Weinberger was quitting his job to join him. Speculation immediately arose that the Tesco account would follow Weinberger out of the agency.

Cartmell is a senior copywriter at Lowe and has worked there for 10 years, while Lawes has spent eight years at the agency and is senior art director. The pair work mainly on the Tesco account.

An issue that could prove a sticking point with the Tesco work is the sheer volume of ads that Lowe produces on the account -- an estimated 1,900 pieces of work a year.

The loss of the Tesco account is a cruel blow to Lowe, whose work on the supermarket brand has been widely lauded. The agency has been coping with a number of account losses over the last two years, including HSBC, Braun and the Surf laundry detergent work.

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