In what was one of the longest advertising pitches of recent times, M&C Saatchi has beaten BBDO and incumbent Bates Advertising to win the Mandarin Oriental International account. Carat was appointed media planning agency. After a five-month battle, M&C Saatchi won the worldwide account, valued at US$2-$2.5 million in billings annually, to unseat Bates which had held the account for 10 years. Originally, six agencies tendered for the business. Two years ago the Hong Kong-based hotel group, with 13 properties worldwide, spent $3-$4 million a year advertising, according to industry insiders. Mandarin Oriental group communications director Jill Kluge said M&C Saatchi was selected because its pitch was heavy on promoting Mandarin Oriental as a brand. The promotion would be mainly in print advertising, but a television campaign was being considered. She said the hotel's present campaign, 'Moments of Delight', created by Bates, would run until the end of the year. M&C Saatchi chief executive officer Michael Moszynski said he was relieved to win the 'fiercely contested pitch'. 'Our brief was to look at their communications and what they need to do in future to succeed in this changing world. 'We recommended that rather than promote 'money-off deals', we said you have to support the brand,' he said. Next week, Federal Express will launch a television advertising campaign, based on promoting the quality of its service. The company plans to spend HK$15 million to $20 million in advertising during the next 12 months to promote its 'Singing in the Rain' campaign, featuring a $4 million commercial shot in South Africa. In the BBDO Hong Kong-produced campaign, the global courier rented a street in Johannesburg for two weeks and built a pool which was supposed to represent a flooded street somewhere in Asia. Federal Express spokesman Peter Yin said South Africa was chosen for the shoot because depreciation of the rand provided greater value for the budget.