3 Pins hopes on Friel as its latest ad icon

Third-generation mobile phone company 3 has signed up actress Anna Friel to be the face of a new, make-or-break advertising campaign.

The actress – who is best known for taking part in the first lesbian kiss on British TV when she starred in the soap Brookside – will make her debut in high-budget ads set to break in early January. Friel has starred in several feature films, including Rogue Trader and Land Girls.

The ads, created by TBWA/London, must lure customers to the mobile network, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa. The company, which had hoped to have 1 million videophone customers by Christmas, is now expecting to have less than a third of that number.

Since its launch in March, 3 has been dogged by problems, including handset shortages. Hutchison has been forced to push back the break-even date for its mobile operations from mid-2005 to the end of 2006.

The company reviewed its &£30m advertising business in the summer, but reappointed TBWA/London after seeing pitches from other agencies, including WCRS (MW August 7).

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