Vodafone axes brand name

Mobile phone giant Vodafone is dropping the Vodafone brand from all its consumer business next week and replacing it with People’s Phone – the name of the service provider it paid 77m for last year.

Vodafone’s 300 high street outlets are to carry the People’s Phone brand, and all consumer marketing and business will be conducted under the brand, say insiders.

The outlets will also be expanded to include a range of fax machines and Internet connection kits. The company is also looking at moving into supermarkets using the People’s Phone brand name.

Vodafone will be retained solely for business accounts, despite a 20m investment in advertising through BMP and a 13m sponsorship of the England cricket team to build awareness. A new Vodafone logo will be unveiled on July 7.

The move, which was advised by consultants McKinsey, is intended to end confusion among consumers.

Although the largest UK operation, with over 2.8 million customers, Vodafone trades under 12 separate brands. Outlets are branded under the names of different service pro-viders including Talkland and Vodac, causing widespread confusion. With a consolidated brand, there could be as many as three People’s Phone outlets on some main high streets – giving Vodafone a far bigger retail presence than its rivals.

The consumer advertising account, which could be worth over 30m, is expected to go to BMP. Banks Hoggins O’Shea, the ad agency which created and developed the People’s Phone brand, is not expected to retain any business.

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