Saatchis captures T-Mobile from BBH

LONDON - Saatchi & Saatchi has picked up the £27m UK T-Mobile creative account from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, ending the agency's seven-year relationship with the mobile phone company.

Saatchis' win means that the network will now handle advertising for T-Mobile across Europe. Its Frankfurt office created the current T-Mobile rebranding campaign starring the tennis stars and husband-and-wife team of Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. The campaign launched earlier this year in a bid to re-educate consumers when T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom dropped the One2One name.

T-Mobile is thought to be launching an initiative in the UK this autumn and briefed both agencies to come up with a creative and strategic plan. Saatchis' London office will create campaigns specifically for the UK market from January 2003, with a long-term view to becoming the brand's lead agency across Europe. The timing coincides with the deadline Deutsche Telekom set to complete its T-Mobile rebranding exercise.

BBH's grip on the account was jeopardised when Deutsche Telekom decided to axe the One2One name and consolidate all of its brands under the T-Mobile brand. At the time, T-Mobile said it would continue to work with BBH and Starcom Motive, which runs the media planning and buying account in the UK.

But this latest creative consolidation could also mean a shift in the brand's UK media arrangements. There is speculation over whether this account will now be folded into Universal McCann, which runs the international media planning and buying business.

Clent Richardson, the chief sales and marketing officer at T-Mobile, commented: "Our relationship with BBH has produced fantastic results and we have nothing but praise for the work it has done. However, T-Mobile is part of a global concern with a global brand and the move to a centralised network was necessary."

BBH created the One2One name and devised a number of memorable ads for the brand using the strapline "Life is made of One2Ones", and "Who would you most like to have a One2One with?" in its TV ads. It also created the recent £6m campaign for T-Mobile's picture-messaging technology, featuring a baby's face.

Nigel Bogle, BBH's chief executive, said: "This is a sad moment. We've enjoyed a fantastic relationship with T-Mobile and we're very proud of the work we've produced. We wish it every success."

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