Vodafone rethinks advertising roster

Vodafone is seeking an agency network as it reassesses its existing

international roster of creative agencies and prepares to appoint a

second global network.



The agency selection, which is being handled by Agency Insight, will see

the appointment of a second network to work alongside Wieden & Kennedy,

which picked up Vodafone's £250 million global account earlier

this year.



The search has been sparked by the company's decision to merge all of

the Vodafone subsidiary brands into its main brand by the middle of next

year. This will mean that Vodafone networks in Spain, Egypt and

Portugal, for example, will be renamed under the global Vodafone

brand.



Anna Cloke, the head of corporate communications at Vodafone UK, said:

"By the middle of next year we will be one brand. We may well need a

network. We are talking to networks because we don't want to reinvent

the wheel. Right now they are general discussions."



The total global mobile telecommunications business is worth an

estimated £580 million worldwide.



It is unclear how the talks will effect WCRS's tenure of the UK account,

which it won from BMP DDB at the beginning of the year. Sources say the

agency has been handed a "yellow card" by Vodafone, but Cloke said that

the company "has no problems with WCRS".



Vodafone uses more than 276 agencies in different international

jurisdictions to handle its tactical work. Cloke admitted that if the

rationalisation goes forward, the appointment of a single global network

would be more cost efficient.



The review will not affect Wieden & Kennedy's status as the agency of

record for the Vodafone brand but it is believed that the client is in

search of a strong international network that can service the account in

all markets, including those in which Wieden & Kennedy does not have an

agency. At present, Wieden & Kennedy has offices in Portland, New York,

London, Amsterdam and Tokyo.



In May, Vodafone Group announced the appointment of Wieden & Kennedy as

its new principal global creative ad agency. The agency has subsequently

produced the high-profile "how are you?" campaign, with a £250

million international budget.



David Wheldon of Tempus Partners, which was charged earlier this year

with masterminding all of Vodafone's recent agency appointments, did not

return Campaign's calls.