J Walter Thompson has won the 15m account to promote cable and communications group NTL, after a final creative pitch against Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB.
The original pitch list for the account also included McCann-Erickson and Arc (MW January 28).
JWT’s brief is to develop a brand campaign to tie together the disparate interests of the company. Apart from being the country’s third largest cable operator, it transmits television station broadcasts and provides Internet access through TV sets.
The company is about to launch an interactive digital TV service, and claims it will beat rival Open, run by British Interactive Broadcasting, to the market. It recently sold a five per cent stake to Microsoft. JWT will create branding and ads for these initiatives.
The appointment comes after NTL hired a new director of group marketing, Mike Hounsell, previously with American Express (MW February 4). Hounsell says: “NTL’s marketing strategy for 1999 is clear. It is the year we cut through consumer confusion over digital and show people the benefits of digital technology.”
At the same time, Hounsell has appointed design agency Basten Greenhill Andrews to create a new global identity for NTL after a five-way pitch.
JWT has experience of advertising in the cable sector – it ran a campaign for the Cable Communications Association four years ago featuring Dawn French. However, the campaign was withdrawn before it ran its course.