First hires Media Business and Smarts for bus account

First, the newly-renamed Firstbus, is understood to have appointed Scottish agency Smarts Advertising and The Media Business Scotland to its 1m advertising account.

First is the country’s largest bus operator and claims to have a 22 per cent share of the urban bus networks throughout the UK. It also has interests in Great Eastern Railways, Great Eastern Holdings and North Western Railways.

In addition, the company is the preferred contender to run Bristol Airport and is tendering to run Luton Airport. Other bidders for Luton – which has become a major hub for low-cost airlines easyJet and Debonair – are Stagecoach, National Express, Copenhagen airport, Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. A decision is ex-pected within a month.

Last month, The Media Business Scotland picked up its first account – the 1m Martin Currie investment house business. However, the two wins will be scant consolation for not winning the 10m Standard Life media business.

Neither Smarts nor The Media Business Scotland would comment. No one from First was available for comment.

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