3 Moves to quell pitch speculation

Mystery surrounds mobile phone company 3’s advertising agency arrangements after it refused to deny industry speculation that it is set to announce a review.

The third-generation network, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa, moved its &£38m advertising business into WCRS from TBWA/ London in May last year without a pitch.

When asked if 3 was reviewing its agency arrangements, a spokesman will only say: “We don’t comment on rumour and speculation.”

A full-scale advertising review would seem unlikely as Julian Hough, who is a partner at WCRS, has been on secondment at 3 for more than a year. Hough and the agency deny any review is taking place.

One theory is that 3 is looking to work with other agencies on a project basis. MindShare handles media for the mobile operator and Personal is responsible for direct marketing.

WCRS was handed 3’s advertising business without a pitch a year after TBWA defended the account following a two-week pitch.

WCRS, which was involved in that pitch along with Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners and M&C Saatchi, began working on the account in a strategic capacity at the end of 2003.

In February last year, it persuaded the company to run its ads promoting 3’s range of pre-pay services. The ads featured Anna Friel.

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