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Bank of Ireland's €5m ad account is up for grabs

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A still from Bank of Ireland's lighthouse ad

A still from Bank of Ireland's lighthouse ad

A still from Bank of Ireland's lighthouse ad

BANK of Ireland's ad agency has decided to ditch the lender, triggering what could be the biggest pitch for business of the year in the industry.

Irish International resigned from the account, one of the biggest pieces of business around, ending one of the longest client-agency relationships in recent years. The decision to walk away was made about six weeks ago.

A difficulty had arisen involving an error on a TV ad in BoI's 'Lighthouse' series, which Irish International reimbursed BoI for, but a source said this was not the reason for the end of the relationship, which had "reached its natural conclusion after 15 years".

The bank, which is pushing strongly to win SME business, and to be "the bank for small business" has a media spend of around €5m a year, meaning fees for its ad agency of north of €500,000 a year.

Four agencies are understood to be pitching for the Bank of Ireland's business, with one believed to be a London agency.

State-owned bank AIB has also commissioned pieces of business from British agencies in recent times.

Those pitching for the Bank of Ireland account are believed to include Cawley Nea, which recently won Electricity Ireland's €1.5m business.

Irish International boss Ian Young declined to make any comment when contacted last week.

The agency is a longstanding name, parented by US giant Omnicom, with clients including Aviva, Carlsberg, Mars and UPC.

Roisin Burke

Sunday Indo Business