Orange enlists Connect for dual-agency line-up

Orange has retained LLM Communications for its core public affairs account and brought in Connect Public Affairs to deliver a programme of events.

LLM has worked for Orange for six years and will continue on a monthly retainer. Connect will be paid a fixed fee to deliver public affairs events all year.

Orange public affairs manager Simon Grossman said the dual-agency arrangement would continue indefinitely, with the programme of events devised at the beginning of each year.

‘We created separate remits specifically because of Connect’s track record in implementing events,’ he said. ‘We have done a couple of events with LLM in the past, but we are looking to do more of them and on a more professional basis.’

Grossman expects Orange will put on about six events in 2004 that will focus on both promoting mobile data services and minimising the effects of telecommunications regulations.

Although the two agencies will cover similar issues, Grossman explained that they will use very different means, so will not necessarily work together.

LLM will provide strategic advice, political intelligence and monitoring, and broader public policy support.

Grossman said its relationship with super-regulator Ofcom would be similar to that with the now defunct Oftel, but the company would be dealing with a new set of people. He said a priority was to contribute to Ofcom’s review of the telecommunications industry.

Grossman said communication with government on 3G is still at an early stage. He said signing government departments and services up to contracts is not on the immediate agenda, although Orange will launch its 3G services in the third quarter of this year.

The six-way pitch also involved The Communication Group, GCI, Grayling, Politics International and Weber Shandwick.

LLM founder Neil Lawson confirmed his decision to quit the agency last month (PRWeek, 30 January).

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