Mobile phone giant Vodafone is in talks with agency networks about appointing a new global shop to aid the rebranding of its international operations.

All the company’s subsidiaries, such as those in Spain, Portugal and Egypt, will adopt the main Vodafone brand by mid-2002.

Said Vodafone UK’s head of corporate communications Anna Cloke: “By the middle of next year we will be one brand. We may well need a network. We are talking to networks because we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Right now they are general discussions.”

The possible appointment does not affect Wieden + Kennedy, awarded global creative duties in May and responsible for the £250 million international ‘How are you?’ campaign [WAMN: 10-May-01; 04-Sep-01]. However, Vodafone is thought to seek a network that can service the account in all markets, not least where W+K – which has offices only in Portland, New York, London, Tokyo and Amsterdam – does not have a presence.

Vodafone currently spends around £580m worldwide on advertising its mobile telecoms business, using more than 276 agencies for strategic work. Cloke added that a consolidation would reduce costs.

It is not known how the search for a network will affect Vodafone’s British incumbent WCRS. Despite Cloke’s assurance that the client “has no problems with WCRS,” insiders told Campaign that the agency has been shown a “yellow card” by the phone firm.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)