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Now Vodafone reviews £50m UK ad account

Now here’s a funny thing. Campaign reports today that Vodafone is talking to agencies outside its WPP fold about its £50m creative account despite all the hoopla, in Campaign strangely enough, about Grey’s new Christmas ad.

Apparently Vodafone’s new UK commercial director Glafkos Persianis wants to focus on Vodafone’s “core strategy” rather than additional benefits.

Now Grey’s ad (below) does seem to focus on this, that is connecting people. It’s just not very good. Maybe Persianis thinks Vodafone should be doing something else.

Mobile advertising in the UK is often pretty terrible, in line with the service offered by most suppliers. They all have their own networks, which are patchy, whereas they should be sharing them, as they do for 999 emergency calls.

And the ads? O2’s marketing is the best (its advertising is with VCCP). Wieden+Kennedy’s advertising for Three is the best. EE, now owned by BT, offers us Kevin Bacon banging on about additional benefits, courtesy of Saatchi & Saatchi. EE’s network seems to have got worse – is this the curse of BT? Vodafone seems clueless, as it’s more or less admitted.

Would a new agency do a better job for Vodafone than Grey? Any agency’s work depends on the quality of the brief and the ability of the client(s) in question to trust them to get on with it.

Grey owner WPP will fight tooth and nail to keep Vodafone. WPP’s MEC handles Vodafone’s global media which gives the holding company a big purchase. But if this does go to a pitch it could be hours of entertainment. Although not for the agencies of course, who’ll be working over Christmas.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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