NI utility owner in agency hunt

Northern Ireland utility company Viridian is seeking an advertising agency to create its first above-the-line branding campaign.

Viridian, Northern Ireland’s largest company by turnover and owner of Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), is developing a branding strategy, and planning an advertising push for later this year. It expects to talk to agencies in Dublin, Belfast and London about the account.

A Viridian spokesman says the company is preparing to advertise as a brand in its own right.

He adds: “We don’t do any above-the-line advertising at the moment; we just use bill inserts.”

Viridian is diversifying from electricity distribution by setting up a number of joint ventures in other industry sectors, including finance and logistics.

Last month, it also announced a 20m joint venture with telecoms carrier Energis. NIE’s infrastructure will be used to create a phone network for government and business use. The network will be used to link in to Energis’ existing network in England, which services clients such as Boots, the BBC and Mirror Group.

NIE spent 500,000 through McCann-Erickson Belfast last year, according to ACNielsen-MEAL.

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