Hutchison 3G hires agency for '3' launch comms blitz

Third generation mobile phone firm Hutchison 3G is planning a PR blitz ahead of the launch of its brand '3', expected within the next few months.

The firm has hired Blue Rubicon to lead a corporate PR campaign, encompassing media training, media relations and high-end strategic advice.

Blue Rubicon won the brief after a hotly contested pitch process, which was narrowed down from a long-list of nine agencies to a shortlist of four.

The appointment follows that of Joe Public Relations last November after a two-week pitch for the consumer PR business (PRWeek, 14 November 2002).

Hutchison did not invite incumbent Firefly to repitch. The firm put Firefly on notice last September following a failed boardroom coup at the agency, which saw four senior directors leave (PRWeek, 6 September 2002).

Blue Rubicon managing director Fraser Hardie heads a five-strong account team, reporting to Hutchison's recently appointed director of external relations, Matt Peacock.

Peacock joined the group last September, from his previous job as chief communications officer at AOL UK.

He said: 'It's a fascinating consumer challenge because we're going to be influencing and persuading key opinion-formers about what amounts to a new medium, and doing so in the midst of one of the most sceptical business environments in the history of telecoms.'

'It's one of the most significant consumer launches of the year,' said Hardie.

Hutchison's brand '3' - backed by Hutchison Whampoa, NTT Do Co Mo and KPN Mobile - is set to be the first major entrant in the UK mobile market for several years.

Mobiles launching this year will act as phones, organisers and games consoles and will deliver a variety of news and entertainment services.

Hardie said target audiences include the financial and technology media and analysts, alongside 'a wide range of opinion-formers'.

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