Rooney Carruthers start-up scoops O2

FCB, WCRS breakaway shop steals chunk of mobile phone brand’s ad business from AMV.BBDO

O2, the mobile phone brand that replaces BT Cellnet from April 2, has awarded part – or all – of its advertising account to a start-up agency, replacing incumbent Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO.

The new agency, whose name is unknown, has been founded by at least two senior ad world figures – Rooney Carruthers, formerly executive creative director at FCB San Francisco; and Charles Vallance, executive strategy director at WCRS, Vodafone’s ad agency.

Both Carruthers and Vallance are former colleagues of Will Harris, vice-president of marketing at mmO2 – all three worked at WCRS on the Orange account.

A call to Vallance as Marketing Week went to press confirmed that he quit WCRS on Tuesday (yesterday). Neither he nor other directors of WCRS were available for comment.

BT Cellnet also refused to comment, but sources indicated O2’s agency arrangements were “unresolved”. There is speculation that the start-up has been recruited to develop an international ad strategy, leaving AMV.BBDO with the job of implementing this within specific markets.

AMV.BBDO handles BT Cellnet’s advertising in several European markets, including the UK, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. The agency also handles advertising for Genie, although this brand is to be merged with O2. No one at AMV. BBDO was available for comment.

Carruthers made his name with campaigns for Häagen-Dazs and Levi’s while at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and work for Orange, Worthington, First Direct, Caffrey’s and BMW during his time as joint creative director at WCRS. Since leaving FCB San Francisco last summer he has worked as a director at London production company Godman.

Vallance’s career in advertising began at Colman RSCG, where his accounts included Cadbury and Citroën. He arrived at WCRS after stints at Burkitt Weinreich Bryant and BBH.

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