Rapier lands £50m ntl/Virgin launch task

Rapier has landed the lion's share of ntl:Telewest/Virgin Mobile's £50 million launch account at the expense of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R.

James Kydd, the managing director of marketing for Virgin X - the merged company's working title - awarded Rapier the brand TV brief and lead strategic planning for the launch. The agency will also handle all direct response activity. RKCR/Y&R will be responsible for press and outdoor work. Kydd's decision followed creative presentations from both agencies.

This is a blow for RKCR/Y&R, which has held the Virgin Mobile account since 1999. Its recent work shows Pamela Anderson publicising Virgin Mobile's real-time TV service.

Recently, RKCR/Y&R won BT's business-to-business account, which could present conflict issues in the future.

Rapier's chief executive, Jonathan Stead, said: "We're delighted to work for Virgin X alongside Rainey Kelly."

- Comment, page 44.