News International hands Liquid Times direct business

News International has added Liquid Communications to its roster as the direct agency for The Times and The Sunday Times.

Liquid will now take charge of the direct marketing for the broadsheets' subscription drive, as well as providing a customer relationship management programme for the brands. The agency will also create new-media campaigns.

Liquid, which was handed the account without a pitch, has been working for News International recently on a project basis. The agency will now work with Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, the above-the-line agency for The Times and The Sunday Times, to develop an integrated creative strategy.

Andy Annett, the managing partner at Liquid, said: "The national newspaper industry in the UK is uniquely challenging. The Times and The Sunday Times are fantastic products with strong brands working in a highly competitive market place. Times Newspapers has some innovative and exciting plans."

RKCR/Y&R recently produced the "Are you getting the full picture?" campaign for The Times and The Sunday Times, which won a silver Lion at this year's Cannes Advertising Festival. The roster also includes Maher Bird Associates and Carat.

In recent years, News International has preferred to use below-the-line agencies on a project basis only. By hiring Liquid on a permanent basis, it is following News Group Newspapers' lead - its fellow News Corporation company uses TBWA\GGT as its direct agency of record for The Sun and the News of the World.