Virgin Media 02’s new director of brand and marketing Simon Groves faces on of adland’s trickier issues as the takes the marketing helm of the newly-merged mobile and (in the case of the Virgin bit) TV provider – one agency or two?
The two brands will supposedly stay independent for now at least. O2, where Groves has spent most of his career, is an undeniably strong brand, helped no end by its decision back in the day to turn the unloved Millennium Dome into London’s premier music venue.
Virgin Media has spent buckets on ads but remains bedevilled by its (wholly justified) reputation for lousy customer service. Like other one-time Branson brands it also maintains an irritating perkiness, which is OK if you line the brand. I received an email from VM a while back saying “Yo bill is ready.” Grrr.
Rival BT, of course, has kept BT Mobile going even after buying the UK’s biggest mobile provider EE. Presumably there’s a reason for this, maybe there’s a big chunk of the market that can’t stand EE’s Kevin Bacon. Adam&eveDDB has struggled manfully with VM since the account returned to DDB a few years back but you’d think O2 agency VCCP would be in the ascendant in this debate.
Groves, latterly at Tesco Mobile, may take his life in his hands and invite other agencies too. BBH has performed strongly for Tesco and New Commercial Arts (whose founders include adam&eve and BBH alumni) would surely gird its busy loins for this one.