Friends Reunited splits from HMDG

ITV-owned Friends Reunited is understood to have parted company with Hurrell, Moseley, Dawson & Grimmer just weeks after the agency’s relaunch campaign for the social networking site was aired.

The split comes less than three weeks after the first work from HMDG aired on TV and just two months after the agency won the advertising business without a pitch.

An ITV spokeswoman says the agency was “never appointed” to the broadcaster’s roster, but the agency is thought to have expected “various projects” from the client.

HMDG created a TV campaign for Friends Reunited that promotes the fact the social networking site is now free to join. The agency has also redesigned the site.

The broadcaster scrapped the subscription fee in an attempt to gain ground ceded to newer rivals such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo (MW October 31, 2007).

The ad shows a group of friends enjoying activities together from kite flying to shopping and includes the strapline “So now you can keep your friends even closer”.

HMDG was appointed to the brief ahead of incumbent Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, which continues to work on the below-the-line business. Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw created the site’s previous TV campaign in early 2007, and is about to launch a new execution for Genes Reunited and Friends Reunited Dating.

Friends Reunited Group was bought by ITV for £175m in 2005. It recently restructured its senior management team, in a move that saw Trinity Mirror executive Andy Baker appointed to group managing director, while marketing director and co-founder Tim Ward moved to a similar role within ITV Consumer.

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