Asda courts Fallon with route to £45m account

LONDON - Asda's 17-year relationship with Publicis is under threat following the retailer's decision to ask Fallon to pitch for a key advertising brief.

A spokeswoman for Asda confirmed that the two Publicis Groupe agencies are going head-to-head for a major TV brand campaign due to run next year. A decision is expected next month.

The spokeswoman would not confirm whether the entire £45m advertising account would also move over to Fallon if it were successful in wresting the brand campaign from Publicis.

The review of agency arrangements is the first major decision taken by Asda group marketing director Rick

Bendel since he joined the supermarket from Publicis, where he was chief operating officer. Bendel replaced Richard Hodgson, who joined Waitrose as buying director in the summer (Marketing, 18 July).

Insiders say Bendel's role at Publicis was key to the agency retaining the Asda business. He was originally brought in to lead the account in the early-90s.

Asda has held on to its number two position in the UK grocery market despite fears at the start of the year it would lose it to Sainsbury's. Asda currently has a 16.6% share, according to TNS.

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