Regional media buying and sales teams were assessing the damage done by DFS's decision to transfer its £90m from Brilliant in Leeds to MediaCom in London this afternoon.
The account represented a significant proportion of Brilliant's business and by far its largest TV account.
The national press side of DFS is already handled by MediaCom and the decision was taken by the furniture retailer in a bid to gain efficiencies by centralising its business. As a result it is unlikely that MediaCom North will benefit from the win.
However, it is thought that the loss will be damaging both for Brilliant and the marketplace as a whole.
Said one media sales director, “This is a bad day for the regions. This loss of a major account is serious, but so too is the message it sends out to other clients and marketing directors. They will be wondering if regional agencies can handle accounts of this size.
“But as well as hitting Brilliant directly it will also affect regional sales teams who handle the DFS sales. Now these booking could transfer to London sales centres.”
The news has led to speculation as to whether Brilliant can survive, particularly as it comes on top of ASDA’s decision to transfer its regional business out of the agency.
Another sales source commented: “I was speaking to Brilliant just this morning and they are philosophical about this news. However, it is a big business with three offices. I am pretty certain they will continue to do okay. Our trading with them has not been affected. At the end of the day sometimes the rumours themselves surrounding these stories can become a self fulfilling prophecy.”
According to brand directory ALF, Brilliant continues to service accounts such as the COI, Welcome to Yorkshire and the Co-Operative Group.
Questions are also being asked as to whether DFS may now look to review its other marketing accounts, held by regional agencies Uber and Public following the conclusion of this review.
At the time of writing Brilliant had not returned The Drum's calls for comments, but it is expected that the move will trigger jobs losses particularly amongst its TV buying team. Many will be entitled to evoke protection under TUPE legislation.