Freeserve faces agency hunt as Marbles resigns

Freeserve, the free internet service provider, is looking for a new consumer agency following the resignation of its existing adviser, Marbles PR.

Freeserve, the free internet service provider, is looking for a new

consumer agency following the resignation of its existing adviser,

Marbles PR.



Marbles had to resign because it is considering legal action against one

of Freeserve’s business partners. The action would be against HFC Bank,

which has just launched a credit card called Marbles that can be applied

for and serviced on the internet. The credit card has a similar name and

logo to that of the PR agency. HFC maintains it designed its own

logo.



Freeserve has a deal with HFC to market the Marbles credit card on its

site, and the PR agency is understood to have felt there would be a

conflict of interest in continuing to represent the internet service

provider.



The credit card was launched to the public on 15 October, and soon after

a number of articles appeared in national newspapers about the

similarity of its logo and the PR agency’s.



Marbles PR is working out its notice with Freeserve. Lesley Smith,

corporate affairs director at Dixons Group, declined to comment.



Marbles was appointed to the account in the summer of 1998, and helped

launch the service in September 1998. Freeserve’s other PR agency is

Citigate Dewe Rogerson, which handles its financial relations.



Marbles joint managing director Jan Stannard declined to comment.



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