BBC Taps 2 Shops

Cable network BBC America surprised contenders by splitting its $10 million advertising account.

Arnold Worldwide,Washington in McLean, Va., has picked up the creative portion. Media planning and buying will be handled by the San Francisco shop kirshenbaum bond & partners west.

Pitching against each other, the two shops bested TBWA\ Chiat\Day and Ogilvy & Mather, both in New York, as well as an undisclosed agency in a review BBC chief operating officer Paul Lee described as strong across the board. Lee said he was impressed with the winners.

“We loved the clarity of Arnold and the work they did on Volkswagen,” he said, describing the BBC as a well-established European brand in need of primary and accessible branding for the U.S. market.

“They [Arnold] made us look cool but high quality,” he said, adding his team was “blown away” by kb&p west’s media.

Having agencies on both coasts was a plus. “We are firm believers that media needs to be as creative as the work itself,” said Kate Meyer, marketing director of BBC America. Programs that run on the network in the U.S. include Can’t Cook Won’t Cook and the hit comedy Absolutely Fabulous.

Kb&p west, which works with clients such as Mother’s Cookies and Ricochet, said it can work with tight budgets.

“We generated a ton of PR on the Snapple [soft drink] account with $50,000 by putting Snapple stickers on mangoes,” said Nigel Carr, managing partner. “You could say our work here will be mango-inspired.”