FirstGroup to hold £6.5m review

Transport company FirstGroup is drawing up an agency roster for its train, bus and coach divisions as part of a drive to create an umbrella brand image.

Group marketing manager Shona Byrne, who is overseeing the roster review, says: “FirstGroup is doing this because it is focusing on First as a brand. It wants a consistency of message and the ability to be able to monitor the brand more closely.”

FirstGroup, which estimates its total advertising at &£3m and total marketing spend at &£6.5m, has 80 agencies on its books covering advertising, direct marketing and design. Feather Brooksbank was appointed to handle FirstGroup media buying two years ago and is unaffected by the review.

The company owns three regional train operators: First Great Eastern (FGE), First Great Western (FGW) and First North Western (FNW). It also owns several bus operators such as First York, First Glasgow and First London. It also has interests in the US and Canada.

The three rail operators spent a total of &£436,000 on advertising for January to December 2001 (AC Nielsen/MEAL). FGE and FGW use WWAV Rapp Collins for advertising, and Gorilla and MKM Marketing & Promotions as their respective direct marketing agencies. FNW uses Connectpoint for advertising and carries out direct marketing in house. Many of the bus companies use Citigate Smarts for advertising and direct marketing work.

FirstGroup was created in 1995 when English company Badgerline bought Aberdeen’s GRT. Competitors include Stagecoach and Arriva.

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