Elle links up with Alcatel to launch women’s mobile

Elle, Hachette Filipacchi’s monthly fashion magazine, is teaming up with telecoms company Alcatel to launch a branded mobile phone for women.

The Elle GlamPhone, which goes on sale at the end of the month, is a dual-screen camera phone with red casing and a mirror. It will be sold in a perfume-style box and can be worn around the neck on an Elle chain.

The launch will be supported by a press campaign and the first ad will appear in the Christmas edition of Elle.

Graham Jeffs, marketing manager of Unique Distribution, which will distribute the phone, says: “Alcatel has designed a handset that complements the readers’ profile.”

The initial images and ads were developed by Alcatel and its advertising agency in Paris and are being adapted for local markets.

Last month, Hachette confirmed it was suspending Elle’s sister title Elle Girl (MW September 8). Its future is being reviewed but it is unlikely that it will reappear.

Elle Girl, launched in 2001, did not live up to expectations, failing to post a January to June ABC figure. Its nearest rival, the National Magazine Company’s Cosmo Girl, has an ABC figure of 163,602, while Elle Girl’s last recorded figure was 90,334.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has thrown its weight behind digital media buying agencies over Google’s decision to stop paying agency discount in the UK. Later this week, representatives of the IPA will meet the search engine giant to try to get the scheme abandoned.

Wayne Arnold, vice-chairman of the IPA’s Digital Marketing Group and managing director of full service digital agency Profero, says: “Google’s recent announcement has raised a number of unacceptable concerns for our members. We are taking this issue seriously.”

Two weeks ago, Google said that from January 2006, it would be dropping agency commission in favour of “best practice funding”, a system of rebates based on the volume of trade it receives from agencies.

Google does not pay agency commission outside Europe and it was known it planned to stop doing so in the UK. Vice-president of European operations Nikesh Arora says the scheme is fairer for smaller media buying companies. The aim is to encourage them to “continue to invest in search”. He adds that it will also help develop “best practice” among media buyers and search-engine optimisation companies.

But many media buyers say the new scheme is not in clients’ interests, arguing that if the rebate is based on how much an agency spends with Google, that immediately calls into question whether the agency’s advice is objective, or driven by financial self-interest.

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