Freeserve brand to stay as Wanadoo changes its mind

LONDON - The Freeserve brand has been given a reprieve after French parent company Wanadoo said it was abandoning a £30m plan to rebrand the internet service.

There were plans to dump the Freeserve name in a massive campaign, which would have involved Freeserve's 2.5m UK subscribers being forced to change their email addresses from freeserve.co.uk to wanadoo.co.uk.

The Wanadoo brand is already used in seven countries across Europe.

However, from the outset, the plan made little sense, with the Freeserve brand being so well established in the UK. Freeserve has continued advertising its services, including Broadband, with the slogan "be free". M&C Saatchi is behind the company's advertising, which has recently featured nudists and hippies.

Wanadoo bought Freeserve, the UK's biggest ISP, from the Dixons retail chain in February 2001 for £1.6bn.

At the time of writing, the French company had confirmed that the rebranding plan was being abandoned, but would not give the reason behind the decision.

The decision by Wanadoo to rebrand Freeserve echoed that of Tiscali, the pan-European, which rebranded the LibertySurf, World Online and LineOne ISPs under the Tiscali banner.

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