Vodafone is trawling for a media agency to handle a centralised
account worth up to pounds 30 million.
The mobile phone company currently has two main divisions: the Vodafone
operation, which has around a dozen individual brands, and Peoples
Phone, the high street retail chain acquired in October 1996.
Vodafone’s media account is handled by BMP Optimum, while the Peoples
Phone account, historically with Frontline Media, has hung in the
balance since the acquisition.
The company is poised to streamline its brand portfolio and, as part of
the overall rationalisation, is looking for a single media company to
handle a pooled media planning and buying account.
The creative accounts for the different brands are also in the process
of being rationalised, with BMP - the incumbent on the main Vodafone
account - tipped to win the creative business.
Creative work for Peoples Phone was previously handled by Banks Hoggins
O’Shea. It is unclear whether a competitive pitch will be held for this
side of the business.
Vodafone spent pounds 20 million on advertising last year, according to
AC Nielsen MEAL, compared with just over pounds 8 million for Peoples
Phone. Cost efficiencies are now being sought as part of the media
centralisation, but budgets for the combined account are still expected
to top pounds 28 million.
The brand concentration is likely to result in the Peoples Phone name
taking over all Vodafone’s high street retail outlets, with names such
as Talkland disappearing. However, the Vodafone name will probably be
retained for business customers.
The move would make Peoples Phone the largest mobile phone retailer and
a new advertising push is to be mounted behind the brand once the
changes are officially announced later this month.
Neither Paul Taylor, BMP Optimum’s managing director, nor anyone at
Vodafone were available for comment.