THIS WEEK: Littlewoods in football focus

Littlewoods Pools has centralised its pools and scratchcard operations, and plans to focus on its football roots - after admitting it scored an own goal by trying to take on the National Lottery over the past year.

Littlewoods Pools has centralised its pools and scratchcard operations,

and plans to focus on its football roots - after admitting it scored an

own goal by trying to take on the National Lottery over the past year.



D’Arcy Masius Benton and Bowles has been signed to handle the estimated

pounds 16m advertising account, with BBJ Media Services taking on the

pounds 8m media account and pounds 14m FA Cup sponsorship.



The wins cover all business for Littlewoods three brands, Pools, Spot

the Ball and Charity Scratch Card, which were previously handled

separately by Lowe Howard-Spink, Stowe Bowden Wilson and Bates Dorland



‘In the past year, we have almost drifted into the lottery arena,’ said

a spokesperson, ‘The future will see Littlewoods refocus itself back on

football.’



The decision to unite the three brands and review the advertising and

media accounts followed the appointment of former Golden Wonder

marketing director Tony Hillyer in July.



Hillyer now plans to refocus on, and develop, the firm’s footballing

associations, with new football-related products planned for 1996



The move could mean greater emphasis by Littlewoods scratchcards on

supporting its football pools operation, with cards themed around

particular teams or tournaments.



The company recently signalled its commitment to the Pools business,

launching TV advertising to support the brand and trialling Pools

playstations in independent retail outlets.



‘Littlewoods has gone from a big player in the Pools market to a smaller

player in the soft-gambling market, and the plan is to make it a faster

growing player,’ says BBJ Media Services managing director, Jerry

Buhlmann.



However, the company’s long-term strategy could soon be out of the

hands of its private owners, the Moores family. Two takeover bids,

including one from Granada, have been made for the company.



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