Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Hill and Knowlton and US hi-tech agency
Cunningham PR have formed a PR agency called Avalanche to service the
global account for Oracle, the world’s largest database company.
Avalanche will operate out of Silicon Valley in California and will
trade as a separate company working solely for Oracle. Its contract
lasts for five years and an annual PR budget of pounds 5.6 million will
be channelled through its headquarters.
It is expected to have a start-up team of around 20 and will be run by
Bernie Cummings, current manager of Ogilvy PR’s Los Angeles office;
David Elliot, H&K’s head of technology; and a senior member of
Oracle has been seeking a global PR firm since last October (PR Week, 31
October). It held a conventional pitch last year, and initially
appointed H&K and Ogilvy PR, both part of the WPP group, to handle its
PR. The two agencies’ international networks complemented each
Cunningham, which had also pitched, approached the two agencies with a
plan to provide strength in the US, where it is the largest technology
specialist. The two WPP firms agreed and presented the idea for
Avalanche to Oracle, which accepted.
Nick Barley, Oracle marketing director for UK and Ireland, said: ’This
is totally revolutionary. Our original goal was to change our PR on a
worldwide basis as we developed a more proactive approach. Then the
proposal came from the three agencies to form a brand new company.’
Oracle will cut back on the 30 agencies it employs worldwide. However,
Barley indicated that a select few will remain at local level.
The company uses Bite Communications in the UK, Bermudes PR in France,
Imagetime in Italy and Pinnacle in South Africa. Oracle would not
comment on which, if any, would be retained.