Vodafone to centralise pounds 30m media

Vodafone is trawling for a media agency to handle a centralised account worth up to pounds 30 million.

Vodafone is trawling for a media agency to handle a centralised

account worth up to pounds 30 million.



The mobile phone company currently has two main divisions: the Vodafone

operation, which has around a dozen individual brands, and Peoples

Phone, the high street retail chain acquired in October 1996.



Vodafone’s media account is handled by BMP Optimum, while the Peoples

Phone account, historically with Frontline Media, has hung in the

balance since the acquisition.



The company is poised to streamline its brand portfolio and, as part of

the overall rationalisation, is looking for a single media company to

handle a pooled media planning and buying account.



The creative accounts for the different brands are also in the process

of being rationalised, with BMP - the incumbent on the main Vodafone

account - tipped to win the creative business.



Creative work for Peoples Phone was previously handled by Banks Hoggins

O’Shea. It is unclear whether a competitive pitch will be held for this

side of the business.



Vodafone spent pounds 20 million on advertising last year, according to

AC Nielsen MEAL, compared with just over pounds 8 million for Peoples

Phone. Cost efficiencies are now being sought as part of the media

centralisation, but budgets for the combined account are still expected

to top pounds 28 million.



The brand concentration is likely to result in the Peoples Phone name

taking over all Vodafone’s high street retail outlets, with names such

as Talkland disappearing. However, the Vodafone name will probably be

retained for business customers.



The move would make Peoples Phone the largest mobile phone retailer and

a new advertising push is to be mounted behind the brand once the

changes are officially announced later this month.



Neither Paul Taylor, BMP Optimum’s managing director, nor anyone at

Vodafone were available for comment.



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