UK m-commerce JV Weve attracts first advertisers, replaces CEO

Weve, the UK mobile commerce joint venture formed by Vodafone, EE and Telefónica's O2 UK, revealed that Nike and supermarket giant Morrisons will be the first brands to run mobile ad campaigns simultaneously across all three networks via the Weve platform.

David Sear

Weve also announced that CEO Nancy Cruickshank has stepped aside after only five months, and will be replaced by David Sear, who was formerly managing director of Travelex's global payments business. Cruickshank will stay on part-time until the end of March to ensure a smooth transition, the company said.

The company said that the Nike and Morrisons campaigns will be able to contact 15 million mobile users via Weve, using location-based, text and video messages. O2 customers account for the majority of those receiving the marketing messages as a result of its long-running O2 More mobile ad platform, which has previously worked with major consumer bands in the UK, according to Marketing Magazine.

The JV also announced that Vodafone's customer base is now integrated into the Weve platform, adding millions of fresh opted-in users to the existing audience built by EE and O2.

"Weve is already up and running, but with the integration of Vodafone we acquire the critical mass needed to become a serious mobile marketing force," Cruickshank said in a statement. "Our aim is to ensure mobile is a mainstream media channel and a successful part of the media mix."

However, advertisers will not have access to consumers using either the 3 UK, Virgin Mobile or Tesco Mobile networks via Weve because they are not yet part of the m-commerce JV.

While discussions are said to be underway regarding these operators joining Weve, Marketing Magazine claims that the three companies have been shocked at the tens of millions of pounds being asked from each partner by Weve to fund investments in the JV.

Talks between Weve and the three operators are said to include a lower-level service relationship, which would lead to brands being able to contact every UK mobile user with a single campaign.

For more:
- see this Weve statement
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Banking Tech article
- see this Marketing Magazine article

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