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Saatchi & Saatchi loses £18m
Lloyds TSB account

LONDON - Saatchi & Saatchi found out this morning that it has lost its prized £18m Lloyds TSB account following a four-way pitch. It is understood that the bank has appointed Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO as its new agency.

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The other two agencies on the shortlist were Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and TBWA\London. The loss of the account comes as a real blow for Saatchis, which picked up the combined account following the merger of Lloyds and TSB in 1998.

Saatchis picked up the Lloyds business in September 1998 after it ousted D'Arcy from lead status on the account. The two agencies had split the business after Lloyds' 15-year incumbent, Lowe Howard-Spink, pulled out of a 1997 pitch for the newly merged account.

Saatchis' hold on the account was weakened by the departure of Tamara Ingram, the agency's chairman, to McCann-Erickson. She was thought to have played a major role in securing the business and still looked after the account after becoming chief executive of the agency in 1995.

The winning agency will be tasked with stemming Lloyds TSB's shrinking share of the UK banking market. The bank has seen its share of the UK banking sector shrink to 24.6% from 26.1% in 1999, as it has been hard hit by the launch of new online banks such as Egg and Intelligent Finance. Lloyds itself bungled its own online banking aspirations -- last year it abandoned its online brand Evolvebank.

Recent work by Saatchis this year, featuring celebrities such as Shaznay Lewis and Cat Deeley, failed to hit the mark and win over new customers.

The review has not affected media, which is held by Saatchis' sister agency Zenith Media. Lloyds shook up its direct marketing arrangements this summer, with Partners Andrews Aldridge taking a place on the roster with WWAV Rapp Collins and Interfocus.

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