Agencies prepare to pitch

Major advertising accounts out to pitch include Irish Life, Bank of Ireland and BMW, but the one with the most immediate deadline is for Iarnód Éireann. Today is the closing date for expressions of interest for the account – both media and creative – the date having been pushed back by the company by two weeks.

Currently with Focus Advertising, Iarnród Éireann is a much sought-after creative and media account believed to be worth in region of €2million. It would be regarded as an old-school prestigious win by any agency.

The nature of the account means that it is open to most agencies to pitch, unlike Bank of Ireland where conflict of interest immediately rules several agencies out; for example AIB is with Rothco, Ogilvy has Ulster Bank and Publicis has Permanent TSB.

Five agencies will then be shortlisted by Iarnród Éireann – a relatively large number in these still-straitened times.


The pitching process is expensive for agencies and there is a move within the industry, led by its representative body IAPI, to encourage companies to bring the number of agencies invited to pitch closer to the European norm, where the incumbent and three other agencies are typically invited in.

The account that kept pitching agencies busy in the run-up to Christmas still hasn’t been decided – it is Irish Water.

Publicis took on the advertising and communication business during the start-up phase last year with the understanding that the main account would go out to tender, which it did. News of who won the business is expected about now – although perhaps not entirely unexpectedly, the decision-makers at Irish Water appear to have had other things on their mind.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist