3, the UK’s maiden third-generation mobile network, is staging a four-way consumer pitch as it strives to kick-start disappointing first-year sales.
PiranhaKid, Lexis Public Relations, Band & Brown Communications and incumbent Joe Public Relations have been shortlisted to battle it out for the business.
The agencies will pitch in mid-December with a view to taking over the account early in the new year. 3UK’s consumer PR adviser will report to head of consumer PR Elaine Quinn.
3UK external relations manager Ed Brewster said the review was triggered by the changing PR demands of the roll-out of 3UK video phones, which first became available eight months ago.
The company’s consumer campaign for the handsets has hitherto concentrated on targeting football supporters. Brewster said the firm wanted to expand its customer profile, particularly to women.
‘How do you communicate to people that have never had a video phone before what video mobiles are all about? We need to explain to consumers the next step in mobile communications is video. That will be an important part of this brief,’ said Brewster.
The winning agency will also handle PR around the delayed roll-out of pay-as-you-go video phones. Earlier this month, the firm abandoned its plan to sell pre-pay phones from December, admitting that it did not have the available handsets.
Hutchison Whampoa is 3’s majority shareholder with a 65 per cent stake. The other major shareholders are Japan’s NTT DoCoMo with 20 per cent and Holland’s KPN Mobile with a 15 per cent stake.
THE STORY SO FAR...
March: 3 launches as the UK’s first third generation network on 03-03-03 with a mission to sign up a million customers by the end of the year. But handsets are not available until later in the month
July: South China Morning Post executive editor Ray Bashford is appointed director of corporate comms
August: 3UK announces it has 520,000 subscribers
October: Former Six Continents
corporate affairs director Mark
Rigby replaces Bashford as director of comms after just three months
November: 3 admits it will not reach its target of a million UK
customers by the end of the year