Pitch Update: Engine on alert as SWR launches creative tender

SWR: 2019 campaign featured sights from train company's destinations, such as the contents of London museums
SWR: 2019 campaign featured sights from train company's destinations, such as the contents of London museums

Freesat is seeking new agencies after parting with Mr President, Roast and Electric Glue.


TBWA\London, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Adam & Eve/DDB – along with incumbent McCann London – are all pitching for Just Eat’s global creative account. AAR is assisting the process. Amsterdam-based We Are Pi was also involved, but has now withdrawn from the process. The agency was appointed in December 2019 to the global creative account of Takeaway.com, the Dutch delivery platform that merged with Just Eat last year.

Freesat is seeking new creative and media agencies after incumbent shops Mr President (creative), Electric Glue and Roast (both media) declined to repitch. The free-to-air satellite TV provider is holding chemistry meetings with agencies this week. AAR is assisting.


South Western Railway has launched a tender for its creative marketing services through gov.uk. The train operator, which runs routes between London Waterloo, Surrey and south west England, currently works with Engine, which is repitching. The agency created SWR's first integrated campaign, "Great days never leave you", in 2019.

The tender is split into two lots: one covering strategic and creative services, account and project management, and the other production services. The two pieces of business are worth an estimated £800,000 and £1.15m respectively for a 12-month contract. Expressions of interest must be received by 10 March. 

Transport for London is set to begin a review of its UK media planning and buying requirements. The statutory review process could start as soon as this month, with a formal pitch taking place on 28 July. WPP’s Wavemaker has held the contract for TfL’s media buying for the past 14 years. MEC, which became Wavemaker in 2017, was first appointed to the business in 2007 and was last reappointed in 2016, when the account was worth £10m.


Wavemaker has retained the £9m Asahi UK & Ireland account after the beer and cider brand owner put the business into review last year. The WPP media agency will continue to work on brands such as Asahi Super Dry, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Grolsch. MEC (which later became Wavemaker) won the business in 2012 when it was owned by SABMiller. The process was overseen by Jonathan Norman, director of brand marketing, global brands, at Asahi UK.

Creative agency Ekstasy has been appointed by Echo, a free online NHS prescription service from LloydsPharmacy, following a three-way competitive pitch. The brand previously worked with M&C Saatchi Accelerator. Ekstasy will launch a multichannel advertising campaign to promote contactless prescriptions, led by TV advertising.

Brand experience agency Quantum has been appointed to the UK portfolio of Lion Little World Beverages, part of Australia's Lion Brewing, following a competitive pitch. There was no incumbent. LLWB owns craft breweries including FourPure and Magic Rock.

Total Media has today been awarded the media account of MG Motor UK, after a competitive pitch run by 23 Media Audits. The incumbent was TMWI.

Biscuit brand Bahlsen has appointed MullenLowe Profero as its lead website and social global agency of record. The agency emerged victorious in a competitive pitch against Wunderman Thompson and Adoratorio. It has been tasked with redesigning the brand’s first global website and implementing a new social strategy across EMEA, APAC, North America and MENA. There is no direct incumbent.

Independent holiday homes company Original Cottages has appointed PHD Manchester to manage its media planning and buying, following a competitive pitch. There was no incumbent.

National Express has picked M/SIX to handle its £10m UK media media planning and buying account for the next three years after a competitive pitch. M/SIX, which is backed by WPP and buys media through Group M, succeeds Havas Media, the 10-year incumbent, which did not repitch. The process was run by Hamilton Associates and also involved Carat, Goodstuff Communications and The Kite Factory.

Bupa has appointed Initiative as its media agency following a competitive pitch process. The private healthcare provider split with WPP's Wavemaker after nine years, with the shop not invited to repitch. Bupa spent £7.6m on UK media in 2020.

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