Direct Line founder’s latest project seeks media agency

First Alternative, the new insurance brand backed by Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), is looking for a media agency ahead of its launch early next year.

First Alternative, formerly known as Project Spectrum, is the brainchild of Peter Wood, chairman of both sister brand Esure and First Alternative. Wood previously set up Direct Line and Privilege, both now owned by Royal Bank of Scotland.

The First Alternative name and logo, announced this week, were generated in house, and chief executive Colin Batabyal says it is likely that the brand will use its own creative team rather than instruct an outside advertising agency. Wood is a vocal critic of advertising agencies, and Esure’s recent campaigns featuring Michael Winner have been created in house. Esure’s media agency is Media Planning Group, but First Alternative is talking to other agencies as part of a strategy to maintain differences between the brands.

First Alternative will offer direct insurance over the phone or internet to higher-risk drivers, such as those who drive sports cars or those who have driving convictions. Esure only offers insurance to low-risk drivers with four years’ or more no-claims bonus.

The company had been looking for a name since the project was announced in June. Its marketing strategy has yet to be fully decided upon, and is the responsibility of Andy Brown, who has been brought in from Esure to be head of marketing.

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