Jordan Telecom turns Orange

Jordan Telecom is launching the Orange brand in the Middle East backed by a multi-million dollar marketing push, Campaign can reveal.

Details have yet to be finalised, but the Orange name will be rolled out next year in what the company claims will be one of the biggest campaigns ever seen in the region.

France Telecom, owner of the Orange brand and a majority shareholder in Jordan Telecom, is driving the launch as part of its strategy to make Orange synonymous with mobile, fixed-line, broadband and business services.

Orange has operations in 17 countries across Europe as well as in Africa, and the group has a joint controlling interest in Egypt's MobiNil.

Mickael Ghossein, Jordan Telecom Group's new chief executive officer, said the company wanted the Orange name to become as well known as Coca-Cola.

Ghossein said: "Yes it is something that is going to happen. We hope to roll out the new brand in 2007 but before then there will be a very big marketing campaign. I don't have the details or figures but of course it will be huge, in the millions of dollars.

"Our strategy is we want Orange to be as well known as Coca-Cola. If you look at what was done in Europe when Orange was rolled out, you will get an idea of the scale. I think it will be one of the biggest marketing campaigns seen in the region. We are not just asking people to buy a new product - we want them to associate the word orange with mobile phones and other services."

In June this year France Telecom acquired a controlling stake in Jordan Telecom after it paid US$183 million for a further 10% of the company on top of the existing 40% interest it has held since 2000.

Ghossein added: "As you know, France Telecom is extending the Orange brand across the world. It has been done very successfully in Europe, including Spain recently and even in Africa. The company's view is that Orange should now become a Middle East brand. This strategy has come from France Telecom and I will be implementing it."

Jordan Telecom uses Team Y&R in Amman for its advertising, but it is not known if the agency will be tasked with developing the new Orange campaign. Dubai-based Spot On is in charge of the firm's public relations.

In Europe Orange has successfuly established itself as one of the leading brands in the telecommunications industry. Its move in to the Middle East comes at a time of heightened competition among telecom operators and moves by some countries in the region to liberalise their telecom markets.

Ghossein has more than 20 years of experience working with France Telecom. From 2002 to 2005 he headed up Jordan Telecom's mobile division, MobilCom, and earlier this year was promoted to executive vice president of the Jordan Telecom Group.

"The Jordan Telecom Group, based on its capabilities and the expertiseand know-how of its partner France Telecom, is ready to rise to new challenges and create new opportunties for our people and our customers," added Ghossein.

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