Link seizes £5m P&O task from JWT

J. Walter Thompson has lost its estimated £5 million P&O Ferries business after the company decided to consolidate its three ferry brands into Link ICA on a pan-European basis.

The centralisation follows European Commission clearance for the consolidation of P&O Ferries' three divisions; P&O North Sea Ferries, P&O Portsmouth and P&O Stena line. Stena was handled by JWT, North Sea by Advertising Principles and Portsmouth by McCann-Erickson.

The decision was taken following a pitch between JWT and Link ICA, which already created tactical ads and some e-commerce and other marketing services for the company. P&O Ferries is a separate business from P&O Cruises.

Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy handles P&O Cruises.

Three new passenger ships will enter service in 2003, which the company will use as the basis of a brand relaunch. Corporate and branding campaigns will include TV, press, posters, radio and e-commerce and will run in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium.

The commercial director for the newly consolidated group, John Govett, commented: "Link ICA has developed a major creative idea, which we believe will be a step change in ferry advertising. We believe its solution is a key move which will set us apart from our competitors."

Roger Dexter, the chairman of Link ICA, added: "Having worked with P&O Stena Line for a number of years, our creative and strategic strengths have developed through a fundamental understanding of the businesses, challenges and opportunities the ferry industry faces."

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