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TSB hands £17m media business to 'challenger' indie agency the7stars


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

October 22, 2019 | 4 min read

TSB has appointed the7stars to handle its media and planning business, with chief marketing officer Pete Markey saying the brand was drawn to the agency's "challenger" mentality.

TSB hands £17m media business to The 7 Stars

Markey had previously told The Drum he was looking for an agency that would help underscore TSB's status a a challenger bank

The move displaces Dentsu's Vizeum, which was appointed to the estimated £17m business in 2016 after it was moved out of Manning Gottlieb OMD.

Markey had previously told The Drum he was looking for an agency that would help underscore TSB's status a a challenger bank.

"Whatever agency we go with needs to have that challenger mindset. We're not just another bank and if people approach us thinking we are, that's not it," he said when the pitch kicked off in August.

Final pitches were held earlier this month between Publicis' Blue449, Initiative and the7stars.

Markey said the brand had knowingly issued a "tough brief" designed to test the mettle of these agencies.

"They all rose to the challenge," he added. "Over the last few weeks we’ve been privileged to work with what I am convinced is some of the world’s best talent in the media business.

"We ran a rigourous process, but it was essential that we got this right, and my team and I are convinced we’ve made the best choice in the7stars. Like us, the agency is a challenger brand ploughing its own furrow, and that just what we need."

New ways of working

The review was Markey's first since he was promoted to the top marketing job last August. Under his watch, the brand has been focused on positioning itself as a community champion and alternative to the big banks; something it's done through sponsoring events such as the 'Pride of Britain' awards.

Markey has been experimenting with alternative ways of creating content from within the bank's walls, launching Studio 1810 (a homage to the year the Trustee Savings Bank was founded) in October 2018.

The opening coincided with Markey's hiring of Keith Gulliver as head of marketing transformation, social media and content with the specific remit of internalising its content production. According to Gulliver, the studio has already delivered "multi-million pound" savings for the brand.

TSB continues to work with Joint on creative after appointing the agency in 2013.

The How to Buy a Gorilla Company consulted on the media pitch.

Nick Maddison, managing partner at the7stars, who led the process, said: "TSB is a fantastic brand, and we decided from the outset that this was the one for us. We are thrilled to be embarking on this next stage of their journey with them - it’s a terrific team and we are all really looking forward to working together."

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