Britain’s third-largest cable group, NTL, has appointed J. Walter
Thompson to handle a massive advertising drive aimed at making it a
NTL’s interests have broadened considerably since it started as a
regional TV and telephony operation five years ago. It now owns a
national network supplying a quarter of all cabled homes in the UK and
the towers used to transmit all three commercial terrestrial TV
Other interests include a stake in Newcastle United football club and
the forthcoming launch of the only internet company to offer services
through TV sets.
Mike Hounsell, NTL’s newly appointed director of group marketing, said:
’NTL’s marketing strategy for 1999 is clear. It’s the year we cut
through consumer confusion over digital and show people the real
benefits of digital technology.’
JWT will be NTL’s first group agency and will handle all strategic
CKMP, the incumbent on the group’s residential and internet divisions,
has been retained for product-related advertising and is unaffected by
the appointment. A decision has not yet been made on media, which is
handled by Carat.
JWT’s chief executive officer, Stephen Carter, said: ’Opportunities like
this come along once in a lifetime.’
JWT pitched against Banks Hoggins O’Shea FCB, McCann-Erickson and Arc
Advertising for the business, which is estimated to be worth around
pounds 10 million.
An NTL spokesman said the need for a strategic advertising agency had
become more apparent as the group’s activities had moved closer to the
consumer. She described JWT’s brief as ’to try to bring in the different
strands of the business and position us as a national player’.
NTL has also appointed the design and marketing agency, Basten Greenhill
Andrews, to come up with a new corporate identity for the group.
Staff numbers at the Hampshire headquarters of NTL have tripled over the
past 12 months, during which time the software giant, Microsoft, became
a strategic partner, taking a 5 per cent stake in the business.