Telegate unveils ads personality

Telegate, the German directory enquiries company, has picked ex-soap star Claire Sweeney to front the launch advertising campaign for its £10m assault on the UK market, which was opened to competition last week.

The company, which offers its services using the number 118866, is on the verge of making a decision between two creative agencies to handle its £10m-plus advertising account. Whatever the outcome it is committed to using Sweeney as 118866's 'advertising personality'.

Telegate operates a 560-capacity call centre in Dumfries, Scotland and is poised to open two more in the coming year. The company operates the second largest directory enquiries service in Germany.

Telegate charges consumers the joint lowest connection charge alongside BT Directories at 25p, but calls, which are billed per minute, cost 30p per minute.

The Number, headed by the former Virgin Atlantic and Orange marketing chief Chris Moss (Profile, page 18), charges the highest connection rate of 49p, but thereafter only 9p a minute.

The other services already live are from British Gas Communications, Core Telecommunications, One.Tel and Orange. Irish company Conduit launches its offering early next year.

Oftel has developed a public awareness leaflet on directory enquiries, outlining the pricing of all the operators, to be distributed with forthcoming editions of the BT telephone book, starting next month. It will aim to provide transparency and dispel potential confusion over the range of competing services.

Claire Sweeney's career was boosted by her appearance last year on Celebrity Big Brother and has included a role as singer and actress in hit musical Chicago. She has become one of the most in-demand advertising celebrities.

Camelot brought her in this year as part of its bid to revive flagging lottery sales, while Marks & Spencer chose her as one of the stars for last year's Christmas ad campaign.

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