McConnells dealt further blow as MCM loses major AIB contract
THE ADVERTISING agency McConnells was dealt another blow yesterday when its media buying arm MCM lost a multi-million euro contract to buy ads for AIB.
The news comes a week after the iconic agency went into receivership, leaving media owners and other creditors' owed as much as €7m.
McConnells is continuing to trade after its assets and goodwill were bought out by Latinollo Ltd, a newly-created offshoot of agency giant DDFH&B.
MCM had been hoping to retain the AIB business despite the change of ownership, but the bank yesterday confirmed the account has been awarded to rival agency Starcom following a competitive pitch.
The contract runs for three years and envisages spends of €3 to €5m a year, making it one of the biggest media buying pitches of the year so far.
Pat Donnelly, the former MCM boss who is now running the new McConnells outfit through Latinollo, said it was too early to say how the AIB loss would impact the 75 people working at the agency.
Donnelly added that he and his team had been working "from 8 in the morning until 10 at night" to protect jobs and preserve McConnells' business.
The collapse of the old McConnells is believed to have left media owners out of pocket by close to €6m, but Mr Donnelly insisted "all" broadcasting houses and publications were continuing to run ads for MCM clients including ESB, CIE, the Department of Agriculture, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and BMW.
Having expressed frustration at the lack of information, media owners yesterday received a letter from Mr Donnelly. He confirmed that Latinollo will not pay media owners for ads booked before the receivership on April 16.
"Latinollo has not assumed any liabilities whatsoever for McConnells," it stressed.
Media owners say they have yet to get any communication from Tom Kavanagh, who's handling the receivership of old McConnells on behalf of lender Ulster Bank.