C&W courts controversy in Hong Kong
Wednesday 18 September 1996
One idea under serious discussion by the recently appointed chief executive, Dick Brown, is to rename Mercury and Hongkong Telecom as simply "Cable & Wireless", a brand which means little to ordinary consumers in the UK. Worse still, associating the Cable & Wireless name more prominently with Hongkong Telecom could add damaging imperial connotations to the subsidiary as the British colony prepares to hand over power next year to China.
The rebranding plans are the first fruits of Mr Brown's root and branch review as he battles to define a clear long-term strategy for the group. They are likely to surprise and dismay some insiders who had expected the probe to focus on corporate policy rather than brand identity.
A spokesman yesterday declined to give details of the review, but confirmed that it did involve "reinforcing global identity". He explained: "How that would work is too early to say, but we haven't ruled anything in and we haven't ruled anything out."
The move would end 10 years of brand development by Mercury, which has seen the UK operator spend millions on its ill-fated television advertising campaign using the comedian, Harry Enfield, as the 1940s gentlemen, Mr Grayson and his colleague, Mr Cholmondeley-Warner.
Mercury's subsequent retrenchment, with the loss of 2,500 jobs, is seen as having dented its image, but advertising experts said it remained a much more visible brand than Cable & Wireless.
"At least Mercury is modern," said Tom Rodwell from the advertising agency Court Burkitt. "If you asked people in the street what Cable & Wireless is, most of them either wouldn't know or would think it was something old-fashioned."
Mr Brown has kept a low public profile since he took over as Cable & Wireless chief executive in July, following the acrimonious split between his predecessor, James Ross, and Lord Young. He has spent the past few months touring the group's businesses and is thought to have given preliminary support to plans by Mercury to raise investment from around pounds 300m to pounds 500m for an expansion of its local wire network.
Separately, Mercury yesterday announced a deal to supply phone line capacity to Pipex, the Internet access provider.
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991 with most Brits wanting to stay in'
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...