GCI to help youth phone network

Teen mobile network Blyk has hired GCI to build its brand reputation both in the UK and internationally after a three-way pitch.

Blyk is a mobile network for 16- to 24-year-olds, aiming to link users to their favourite brands and give them free texts and minutes for joining. Advertising from youth-oriented brands including STA Travel and L'Oreal funds the service.

GCI's brief includes corporate reputation management and building brand advocacy in the UK. The agency was awarded the account following a pitch against Weber Shandwick and Ketchum.

GCI's London team will also handle international activity as the Blyk brand expands across Europe. Blyk is launching in the Netherlands in late 2008, with expansion plans to follow in other European markets.

'We will be communicating the scale of the opportunity to the ad industry and the benefits to members,' said GCI technology and digital media director Steve Parker, who will lead the account. 'We'll be extending the Blyk experience online and building brand advocacy through a variety of communication channels.'

Blyk joins a GCI roster that includes price comparison website Comparethemarket.com (PRWeek, 7 March) and Gran Scala, Europe's largest casino complex (PRWeek 13 March).

The agency recently hired Paul Keirnan as head of its healthcare division (PRWeek, 7 April).

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