Henry's House to launch new NTL/Virgin offering

Henry's House has bagged the consumer account for the newly united NTL Tele­west and Virgin Mobile.

The agency will have responsibility for next spring's launch of the combined entity under the Virgin brand. The exact name and branding of the new company remains under wraps, but NTL is reportedly paying £10m a year to use the Virgin name.

The move comes four months after NTL Telewest bought Virgin Mobile for £962m. The acquisition was widely expected to see one of the two incumbents - Henry's House for Virgin Mobile or Consolidated Communications for NTL Telewest - facing the chop.

The appointment of Henry's House ends NTL's ­five-year relationship with Consolidated. No pitch was held, which Consolidated board director Anthony Moore described as ‘disappointing'.

‘We weren't asked to pitch for the combined account, which is something we would have liked the opportunity to do,' Moore said.

For the rest of this year, Henry's House is focusing on consumer promotion of NTL's ‘quadplay' deal, which provides phone, digital TV, mobile and broadband for £40 a month. It is publicised under the strapline ‘Cable, if you can, you should'.

When the new firm  launches next year, plans are afoot to roll out a ­network of high-street shops that would build on Virgin Mobile's 120-store presence. The move would put it in ­direct competition with ­retailers such as Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U.

Henry's House reports to media relations director Rachael Turner. The joint venture retains Brunswick for City and corporate work and Ptarmigan PR for regional PR.

The firm's offering puts it in direct competition with TV services such as Freeview - which telco BT started
selling as part of a package this month - and BSkyB's satellite TV.

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