Hell hath no fury like an ad shop scorned. Especially when business worth £30 million annually is shifted to an arriviste newcomer without the usual review process.

The outraged agency, London-based HHCL & Partners, accused its recalcitrant client Egg – and in particular its new marketing director Nick Cross – of “unprofessional” doings in awarding its account to recent startup, Mother.

“Nick Cross didn't even have the courtesy to talk to us about this, he just presented it to us as a done deal,” protested HHCL chairman, Simon Burridge.

The account of Prudential-owned internet bank Egg has been handled by HHCL since the ovoid was laid in October 1998. Its work for Egg is widely regarded in marketing circles as commercially on-message and has won a clutch of awards.

Cross was placatory but unmoved: “HHCL has done a great job getting us to where we are today and now we're moving into another phase we need to inject fresh ideas,” he said. “As one of the most cutting-edge advertising agencies today, we feel Mother is well placed to push the brand into a new sphere.”

Egg, whose kooky youth-oriented appeal was largely confected by HHCL, has yet to emerge from the red. In the first six months of 2001, the firm reported a pre-tax loss of £63.4m, albeit 21% lower than last year’s £80.7m [WAMN: 24-Jul-01]. It attracted 370,000 new customers in the period, 19% up on last year.

News source: MediaGuardian.co.uk