WCRS chief to return after temporary stint at client 3

Julian Hough, the WCRS partner who has been on secondment at client 3 since last year as the mobile company’s marketing chief, is understood to be returning to the agency.

Hough, who headed the team that snatched 3’s advertising business from TBWA/London without a pitch, joined 3 last May after marketing director Graeme Oxby was moved to a more product-focused role (MW May 27, 2004).

But it is believed that Oxby will resume day-to-day control of the marketing department and 3’s &£39m advertising account.

Operator 3 has increased its marketing spend by almost &£6m in the past year, with a series of high-profile and much-talked about advertising campaigns, including “jellyfish”, “cherry tart” and “milkmaid”. The company, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa, spent &£33.5m on advertising in the year to June 2004 and &£39m to the end of June this year.

A 3 spokesman says Oxby has always held the title of marketing director and denies that Hough was ever officially on secondment at 3, adding: “Julian Hough leads the 3 account at WCRS and will continue to work closely with us.”

Earlier this month Hutchison appointed five banks to run the &£1bn flotation of 3 in Italy. The move is expected to pave the way for a flotation of the UK business next year.

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