France Telecom begins European shake-up

France Telecom has approached 15 European agencies as part of its review for its European brands, including Orange World, France Telecom and Wanadoo.

The agencies, which include non-roster shops, independents and networks, have been asked to prepare a written presentation detailing current clients and potential conflicts. They have also been invited to present face-to-face in Paris next week.

However, France Telecom denies it is looking to consolidate its European advertising or pruning a number of its European agencies to achieve a more consistent brand message across its footprint.

In 2003, France Telecom cut its media planning and buying roster from nine agencies to two and has indicated it will seek a similar structure for its creative accounts.

Mother handles Orange's £55 million advertising in the UK, while in France the business is handled by BETC Euro RSCG.

An Orange spokeswoman said the review would not affect the company's relationship with Mother in the UK. "There is no stipulation that any pitch that France Telecom might do will affect local advertising," she said. "There is no change with Mother and there is no repitch for the business in the UK."

The move to consolidate France Telecom's advertising comes amid widespread telecoms industry speculation about a merger between Orange and Wanadoo, its internet service provider business.

Orange and Wanadoo are set to launch a joint broadband venture later this year, though France Telecom has denied suggestions of a full merger of the two companies.

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