A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.
Tesco, the U.K.'s biggest supermarket chain and one of the world's biggest retailers, has named Wieden & Kennedy, London, to handle its $175 million advertising account after a hard-fought review.
Tesco's 185 Fresh & Easy stores in the Western U.S., headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., will remain at Deutsch, Los Angeles.*
Matt Atkinson, group marketing and digital officer at Tesco, oversaw the pitch. He said in a statement, "We are delighted to have appointed W&K after a very competitive pitch process. Their strong thinking, brilliant teamwork and creativity really stood out. We are excited about working with them on our plans. I would say that it was very hard to make a decision; the responses we had from all were very compelling indeed."
The pitch began in April, just as Tesco announced a 1% fall in profits -- its first drop in the U.K. for 20 years -- and admitted that it had neglected its U.K. stores in order to invest in expansion in the U.S., Asia and continental Europe. Tesco is the world's third-largest retailer, behind Walmart and Carrefour.
Tesco's advertising account was previously held by The Red Brick Road, which opted not to repitch and resigned the business in April after Tesco decided to hold a review. The agency was set up in 2006 by Frank Lowe , who took the Tesco business with him from Lowe London (now DLKW Lowe ). Mr. Lowe stepped down from the business in 2009, while co-founder and Tesco creative guru, Paul Weinberger, left the agency in April of this year. At the time, the supermarket chain accounted for two-thirds of The Red Brick Road's business.
Agency consultant Oystercatchers handled the pitch. VCCP and TBWA/ Manchester made it through to the final round of pitches. JWT London, McCann London, SapientNitro and WCRS were all on the long list of agencies.
Neil Christie, managing director of Wieden & Kennedy, London, said, "We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to be working with Tesco. It's a wonderful opportunity to work with one of Britain's truly iconic brands."
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CORRECTION: W+K issued a press release that stated it would also handle Tesco's Fresh & Easy brand in the U.S. The client has corrected that to note the U.S.'s Fresh & Easy business will remain with Deutsch, Los Angeles.