Phones4u's billionaire founder John Caudwell backs mobile challenger Unshackled.com

The senior executive team at Phones4u, backed by its founder John Caudwell, have launched a mobile challenger brand called Unshackled.com, aiming to take on phone shops such as Carphone Warehouse.

Unshackled.com: the brand's parrot of truth shouts 'bollocks' to mobile rip-offs in launch campaign
Unshackled.com: the brand's parrot of truth shouts 'bollocks' to mobile rip-offs in launch campaign

The start-up has also partnered with Love to launch the brand, with the agency dropping its fees in exchange for equity.  Love’s move follows Anomaly dropping its fees for a stake in fashion start-up Lyst in March.

It is co-founded by Phones4u’s former chief commercial officer, John Whittle, ex-chief financial officer John Morris and ex-chief legal officer Steven Lloyd. Love's chief executive, Trevor Cairns, will be the new company's marketing director. A number other former senior Phones4u staffers are listed as directors for the new company. Phones4u itself went into administration in 2014.

The company is funded by its co-founders, as well as Caudwell, Campaign can reveal. Cauldwell sold his 85% stake in Phones4u for £1.75bn in 2006. Caudwell's funding in Unshackled.com has not been disclosed.

Unshackled.com is an online-only operation that offers ‘split’ tariffs. It loans customers money through banking partners such as Zopa to finance their handset purchase, then separately provides tariffs.

The new brand has exploded onto the scene with a primarily digital campaign, comprising a series of online films introducing ‘the parrot of truth’.

The parrot character pops up at opportune moments to warn consumers of ‘bollocks’ deals from phone shop salesmen.

Love’s CEO Trevor Cairns says the brand will cause "unrestrained mischief" in what is primarily an educational campaign.