Orange, one of advertising's biggest success stories in recent years, is holding a review on its £30 million account.
The mobile phone operator's trademark orange and black colours, and its slogan: "the future's bright, the future's orange" have built Orange up into one of the UK's most recognisable brands since it launched seven years ago. It soon became the UK's fastest-growing mobile phone network, and is now the country's third largest after Vodafone and Cellnet. Now, however, Orange aims to devote more resources to promoting what it calls "future projects" and is looking for an agency with talents in this area.
Richard Brennan, commercial director, said that Orange would continue to work with WCRS on brand advertising. "We just wanted to stick our head over the parapet and see what other agencies are out there. Things are going to be changing for us very quickly over the next few years as technology changes, our competitors will broaden from being other phone companies to the computer and internet."
He declined to discuss which other agencies were involved in the process, but is understood to have enlisted the services of the AAR to help draw up a shortlist.
The move constitutes the third major blow for WCRS so far this year. Last week, Sega Europe pulled its £60 million pan-European account out of WCRS and appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty and BMP DDB instead. A month earlier, Rover striped WCRS of its £30 million international account after a tenure of only five months.
Orange itself faces an uncertain future since its parent, the German conglomerate Mannesmann, was recently acquired by the telecoms giant, Vodafone Airtouch. It is still unclear whether both mobile phone operators will remain inside the group.
Media buying, which is handled by Mediapolis, is understood to be unaffected by the review at this stage.
WCRS launched Orange with a blockbuster commercial featuring hundreds of people on bicycles and introducing the new slogan, and the pair have also fought a number of battles with advertising watchdogs since then over their daring comparative price campaigns.