ITALIAN MOBILE PHONE ASSIGNMENT GOES TO Y&R

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ROME -- Wind, the Italian mobile phone company that experts say is positioning itself to challenge former state-owned monopoly Telecom Italia, has tapped WPP Group's Young & Rubicam to develop a TV campaign to promote two new types of mobile phone service the company says will help it gain market share.

Wind works jointly with Y&R, TBWA and Conquest, the WPP-owned agency that has become part of the new Red Cell network. Though the company says the new campaign doesn't mean any of the other companies are being removed from the roster, a company official did say that Y&R was the best choice for the new campaign.

The campaign will promote two new services -- 24-Hour Light Premium and Go Wind Special Edition -- that offer rate plans that the company says are unavailable via Wind's rivals.

Though Wind is only the third largest of Italy's four cellular phone operators, sector analysts say the company is best positioned to develop into a formidable rival to Telecom Italia, which still dominates telecommunications in the country.

Wind, which will soon change its name to New Wind, bought fixed line company Infostrada from Britain's Vodafone for $7.3 billion earlier this year, giving it the country's leading Internet service provider and second largest fixed line telephone company.

Budget figures for the new campaign were not released, and the company has so far been mum about which of its three advertising companies will handle the publicity effort surrounding the name change to New Wind. That change is related to the purchase of Infostrada.

Wind is a joint venture between state-controlled electric utility Enel and France Telecom.-- Eric J. Lyman

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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