For-sale UGC Cinemas appoints top marketer

UGC Cinemas has appointed Julia Brown as its top marketer as it takes on revitalised rivals Warner Village and Odeon.

Brown, previously strategy director at new media agency Wheel, takes the title head of marketing. She has previously held marketing posts at entertainment wholesaler Total Home Entertainment and Safeway.

UGC’s former top marketer, Helen Jones – who was sales and marketing manager – left to become head of marketing at Blackwell’s in November last year.

Brown heads a team of eight at UGC and reports to commercial director Mike Thomson. She will develop the chain’s marketing strategy and oversee agency relationships. Clinic creates UGC’s advertising and MediaVest UK handles media planning and buying. UGC spent £622,000 on advertising in the year to June (Nielsen Media Research).

The chain has been put up for sale by French owner Vivendi Universal and the company has received offers from at least two venture capital companies. Rival chain Warner Village was bought by a venture capital consortium in May and is to be rebranded as Vue in a £2m exercise. In March, Odeon was sold to a syndicate led by German bank West LB.

UGC Cinemas launched a free monthly magazine for its customers last year, with a print run of 350,000 (MW October 14, 2002). The chain also pioneered the cinema loyalty card: its Unlimited Pass costs £9.99 a month.

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