Virgin shops for new agencies

Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media will both part comp­any with their retained consumer agency Henry’s House in the next few months, leaving the two sought-after accounts up for grabs.

Virgin Media: launched by Richard Branson, chairman Jim Mooney and CEO Steve Burch
Virgin Media: launched by Richard Branson, chairman Jim Mooney and CEO Steve Burch

Both parts of the Virgin Group are currently drawing up separate shortlists, with pitches set to take place in November.

Michelle Gordon, head of consumer and corporate PR at Virgin Media, said: ‘Henry’s House did a great job of launching Virgin Media but we are now looking to take our consumer campaigns to a new level and really challenge the marketplace with fresh ideas.’

She said that the two Virgin companies choosing to switch the accounts at the same time was ‘coincidental’.

Simon Dornan, head of consumer PR at Virgin Mob­ile, said: ‘Henry’s House has been working for us for three years and worked on four V Festivals. It’s just time to freshen things up.’

He said that he was looking for an agency that has worked with ‘exciting’ brands, adding: ‘We need someone to represent us in the marketplace and remind people why we exist.’

Virgin Mobile plans to see pitches from four agencies, two of which have initially been decided on. Agencies will be briefed by Virgin Mobile in early November, with pit­ches happening later that month. Virgin Media said it will also be approaching agencies in November.

Henry’s House was initially appointed by Virgin Mobile in 2003, then by Virgin Media for its launch in 2006. Both contracts come to an end this December.

Henry’s House said it was invited to re-pitch for both accounts but declined the opportunity. It claimed the hit on fees would not be significant.

Agency MD Ginny Paton insisted that the split was amicable and mutual and added that she will ‘remain in contact with the teams for any future projects that fall within the agency’s remit.’

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