Address: 500 The Campus, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 7TG

Address: 500 The Campus, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2


Date of birth: September 1998

Nationality: British

Marital status: Freeserve’s parent, Dixons, sold 20 per cent of the

company last July, with the share price peaking at 925p. But now, with the

price down to 135p, Dixons’ baby is attracting silver-tongued suitors.

Germany’s biggest ISP, T-Online, has already expressed its interest.

Background: Dixons took the market by storm when it introduced its free

internet service provider in late 1998. Freeserve torpedoed other ISPs,

which charged monthly subscriptions of pounds 10 or more, by offering

unlimited web access at local phone rates.

In just six months, Freeserve signed up one million users. Analysts

credited it with kick-starting UK internet usage, especially among

lower-income households.

Freeserve started a now-familiar trend in July 1999 when it staged an

over-hyped and, ultimately, over-priced float on the stock market. The IPO

valued the business at a massive pounds 9 billion and earlier this year it

made its debut on the FTSE 100.

Now, with its value shrunk to pounds 4 billion, Freeserve is operating in

a much tougher market. It was trumped by NTL and Alta Vista, which shook

the sector up again by announcing unmetered internet calls. It is still

the UK’s biggest ISP - with 1.9 million members - but it has a fight on

its hands to stay on top.

A new TV ad campaign and a slicker brand identity are spearheading the

biggest revamp of the brand since its launch.

Brand managers: Nia Tudno-Jones is brand manager and Neil Sansom is

marketing director.

Contact number for Freeserve 01442-353000

Media agency: Walker Media inherited Freeserve from its Dixons account.

Nick Andrews is the account manager, while Phil Georgiadis and Steve

Anderson look after it at board level.

Contact number for Walker Media 020 -7447 7500

Annual media spend: Between April 1999 and March 2000, Freeserve spent

pounds 12 million (AC Nielsen MMS). This figure is set to rise as a result

of a pounds 7 million television campaign.

Media used: Most of Freeserve’s advertising has focused on press and

outdoor (60 per cent and 21 per cent of spend respectively). But the

company is making heavy use of television for the first time with its

’freedom’ campaign by M&C Saatchi .

The TV commercials, which focus on life and liberation, are running in all

ITV regions, as well as on Channel 4, Channel 5 and satellite. They are

backed by press and poster work.


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