Six digital agencies compete for Orange branding brief

The mobile phone operator Orange has shortlisted six digital agencies to pitch for a creative and branding brief across its wireless operation.

The pitch, which is in its early stages, is being run by the AAR's digital arm.

It is understood Orange is looking for an agency to develop a cohesive creative look across its expanding range of handheld products, including PDAs and next-generation mobile phones.

It is thought the remit may include the development of a spin-off brand to encompass all of Orange's next-generation services. This would work like the rival mobile phone operator Vodafone's Vodafone Live!, an umbrella moniker that is used to advertise and market its portfolio of products.

The review is not thought to affect AKQA's position as Orange's online agency.

Last month, Orange kicked off a review of its wider new-media strategy.

It appointed the full-service agency Fullsix, the creative agency Poke and the technical agency ETC, following a four-way pitch overseen by the Orange UK e-marketing manager, Tamara Gillan.

Fullsix was formed from Grey Interactive in France. Poke, set up by former directors of Deepend, works with Mother on digital projects.

The agency appointments were designed to help Orange to encourage its 13.3 million subscribers to make greater use of their phones and promote picture messaging. It is expected to involve a redesign of the website orange.co.uk, as well as online advertising.

The shake-up followed the appointment by Orange of Spencer McHugh to head its direct marketing team as the senior manager of direct customer communications. McHugh is a former planning director at the direct marketing agency MBO.

Last month, Orange poached Lloyds TSB's director of brands, Georgina Smith, to take up the new role of head of UK brand, reporting to the Orange marketing director, Jeremy Dale.

The AAR was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to press.