Virgin seeks shops for web launch

Virgin is bolstering its online presence with the launch of four consumer-based websites and has begun talks with agencies to promote the initiative.

Virgin is bolstering its online presence with the launch of four

consumer-based websites and has begun talks with agencies to promote the

initiative.



The portfolio of sites will cover the travel, money, home and one other,

as yet unnamed sector. Virgin has already pioneered a web-based car

sales operation which goes live on 22 May.



All five sites will be run as separate, autonomous companies but will be

Virgin branded. Each site will be backed by a separate advertising

push.



Sources say that Virgin has already begun talks with three London-based

agencies about a brief to handle its Virgin Energy brand, which operates

under its umbrella home website - Virgin Home Services.



Virgin Energy, which is a joint venture with French-owned London

Electricity, will sell electricity and gas via the internet across the

UK. The chosen agency’s brief will be to create a campaign that will

launch the service under the Virgin Energy brand name. The campaign will

run in conjunction with the launch of the site which is timed for this

summer.



’This is a very big deal for Virgin,’ a source close to the business

said. ’There are 27 million homes out there that are capable of

receiving both gas and electricity. There aren’t 27 million people

wanting to fly with Virgin or buy Virgin mobiles. Virgin is looking to

set up a new dotcom enterprise.’



The site will enable the company to cut out administration costs so that

it can pass the money saved directly to consumers by offering lower bill

tariffs.



Virgin is entering the utilities market as other players such as

National Power’s new consumer vehicle, nPower, Centrica and

ScottishPower expand their web operations. TBWA GGT Simons Palmer was

assigned the pounds 20 million task of rolling out nPower.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).