Five on alert for pounds 30m Hutchison launch task

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong telecoms conglomerate, will pick

one of five agencies to handle the pounds 30 million launch of its

third-generation mobile phone network in the UK.



HHCL & Partners, Saatchi & Saatchi, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners

and TBWA/London are under consideration with another shop, which would

have to resign conflicting business to handle the account.



All the contenders, selected with the help of the AAR, have made

credentials presentations, with three expected to be shortlisted by the

end of the week.



The selection of the finalists is the latest stage in a protracted

process, which was started almost a year ago but was then delayed by

changes in the Hutchison marketing team and also by funding issues.



Since then, the company has hired Yael Voda as its ad manager. It also

has Doug Hamilton, the Wolff Olins executive creative director, who

created the Orange brand for Hutchison, on secondment to work on the new

brand.



Pitches are expected to take place soon. Hutchison chiefs are keen to

have a creative agency in place before making any media

arrangements.



Hutchison, headed by Li Ka-shing, one of the world's richest men, is

looking to the winning agency to replicate the success of Orange, one of

the UK's most successful brand launches, in establishing the country's

fifth mobile phone network brand.



Hutchison was briefly absent from the UK telecoms market after selling

Orange to Mannesmann for pounds 20 billion in November 1999. But it

underscored ambitious plans to return with the pounds 4.4 billion

purchase of a third generation mobile phone licence.



Despite Hutchison's experience of the UK market it will be up against

well-established competitors in Vodafone AirTouch, BTCellnet, One2One

and Orange, all of which have established customer bases.