OneTel seeks agencies for national role

OneTel, the low-cost telecoms provider bought by Centrica last July, is searching for an integrated ad agency to help transform the brand from a regional to a national player.

The company has shortlisted five agencies to pitch for the business, which it says will turn the company into a “grown-up brand”. It will also be moving into broadband Internet access with another recent Centrica acquisition, Iomart.

With 650,000 fixed line customers and 120,000 Internet customers, OneTel is still mainly concentrated in the South-east and key metropolitan areas, such as Manchester and Birmingham.

A long-standing alliance with direct response specialist All Response Media has led to OneTel using direct mail, magazine inserts, online banners, tube ads, posters and press ads.

A OneTel spokesman says: “It isn’t a case of replacing an agency, but supplementing it because of our desire to roll out the brand nationally during 2002.”

An All Response Media spokeswoman claims the agency’s relationship with OneTel is not under threat, but adds that the client is “taking stock”.

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