BBH favourite to win Sony Ericsson joint mobile phone task

Bartle Bogle Hegarty is being tipped as the favourite to pick up

the creative assignment for the new mobile phone joint venture between

Ericsson and Sony.

Industry sources say the agency is likely to be given the nod following

its capture of Ericsson's £100 million global account nine months


BBH is thought likely to beat Saatchi & Saatchi, which handles Sony's

mobile products in the UK, because of its close relationship with Philip

Vanhoutte, Ericsson's global vice-president of marketing and

communications for the consumer products division. Vanhoutte is being

tipped as the marketing chief for the combined operation.

Ericsson and Sony announced last month that they were merging their

mobile phone handset businesses in an attempt to secure a leading

position as the industry moves towards the next generation of mobile

telecoms products.

The deal to establish Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications comes as both

companies attempt to reduce costs in the face of falling demand for

handsets. Under the agreement, the pair will jointly design, brand and

distribute the devices.

The venture will give the Swedish company, Ericsson, access to Japanese

knowledge of third-generation technology. Meanwhile, Sony is keen to

make more headway in the global handset market, a sector in which it has

trailed behind its rivals. Its problems have been exacerbated by a

string of recent recalls because of software defects.

The joint venture is expected to account for about 10 per cent of the

world handset market behind Finland's Nokia, with 34.8 per cent, and

Motorola in the US, which has 14.8 per cent.