Mother’s grip on the &£60m UK advertising business for Orange has been weakened after the agency failed to make it through to the latest stage of France Telecom’s &£300m pan-European advertising review.
TBWA/Worldwide, Publicis Groupe and Havas will take part in the final round of pitches at the end of February after DDB and BBDO, which pitched together, were eliminated.
However, Mother could hold on to the UK business if France Telecom decides the winning network is not strong enough in this country.
The successful agency will work on the global rebranding of the company from France Telecom to Orange.
The only other agency still involved is Spanish independent Tabsa, formerly FCB, which like Mother, will not take part in the next round of pitches but could still be appointed to handle the business in Spain. WPP pulled out of the pitch last week after failing to resolve client conflict issues.
A France Telecom spokesman says: “Our first objective is to find one network agency to work on the global rebranding, but we could ask independent agencies to work with that network in their home markets.”
Fallon and creative hotshop Marcel make up Publicis Groupe’s pitch team, while Euro RSCG will represent Havas.
TBWA/Paris has long been the favourite to scoop the lion’s share of the business (MW November 3, 2005) but sources say Orange UK still thinks highly of Mother. However, it is not yet clear how much consideration the UK business will be given in the final decision as the pitch is being run from France Telecom’s headquarters in Paris.