Agency aims to ensure contract continuity

THE $8 million Royal Automobile Club of WA account is just one of three on The Brand Agency’s client list currently up for review.

With both Transport and Western Power being reviewed, there’s no relief in sight for the agency, which was looking like the flavour of the month after picking up Burswood Resort Casino and news that Wesfarmers’ bid for Howard Smith could add a further $10 million to turnover.

It’s understood a biennial review of the advertising account was built into The Brand Agency’s contract with the RAC when the account was awarded two years ago.

“We made a decision two years ago to always review (the account) every two years and we’re wading through that process right now,” The Brand Agency managing director Ken James said.

“Clients have the right (to review their advertising agency) in this day and age. It’s like Burswood. They saw that, at the end of the day, it (their past advertising contract) wasn’t working for them.”

Pitching for new business or a review is a serious undertaking for advertising agencies, as it demands a substantial financial investment

In a market where government business is set to shrink by one third (in line with plans to cut the Government’s advertising spend), advertising agencies are carefully considering any monies they have to write off.

In the past six months a number of the major advertising agencies have shed staff in response to the loss of major clients and as part of a drive to maintain a strong financial position.

“There are really only four or five good, decent agencies that the big clients want to be with,” Mr James said.

“They (these agencies) have established a good level of service but it’s still a big decision for a client.”

RAC general manager marketing and membership Mark White said there were several good agencies in Perth that were all performing to a similar, high standard.

“I’m not quite sure there’s a standout performer out there that we are dying to do work with,” Mr White said.

“We did not announce to the market that we were undertaking a review. My view of a review is not to get every agency in town to jump through hoops and then pick one.”

The review procedure for this lucrative account is a process to determine whether RAC is maximising the relationship with the incumbent advertising agency.

It’s more a matter of ensuring you have the right match than of engineering a beauty pageant approach to advertising agencies, Mr White said.

Most recently, the RAC has erected what it is claiming to be the largest outdoor advertising sign in WA, on the Murray St Mall corner of William St.

The massive banner weighs more than 220kg and is lit up at night

with six 1,000-watt spotlights.

“We have been delighted to develop the sign in conjunction with the RAC and Perth City Council and believe that it will add colour, life and vitality to a major shopping area of down town Perth,” Outdoor Plus WA manager Matthew East said.

“I am proud to have a WA client first up on this project, as this type of opportunity is usually snapped up by national clients.”

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