Vodafone roster shake-up sees Freuds replace Paratus

Vodafone has replaced Paratus Communications as it restructures comms around three newly-appointed PR agencies, including Freud Communications.

Vodafone: Ditched Paratus in favour of three agencies
Vodafone: Ditched Paratus in favour of three agencies

Paratus will stop working for Vodafone in April, although the agency is expected to continue handling CSR for the brand.

In Paratus’ place, Vodafone has taken on Freuds to handle top-level strategic consultation and to work on specific projects. 

Matthew Freud’s agency picked up the brief without a pitch process. The agency will not be retained but will work on a project basis.

In addition, The Ideas Network will run Vodafone's devices loan programme, which gives journalists access to the brand’s gadgets. 

Finally, Tavistock Communications will offer the UK corporate communications team day-to-day support.

Tavistock has a long-working relationship with the Vodafone Group, alongside retained financial agency Finsbury, and will undertake a new brief for Vodafone UK.

Vodafone head of external comms Richard Wray said: ‘We’ve changed the way we work with external agencies. As far as Paratus is concerned, they delivered strong results but we’ve decided to change the structure of the way these things work. Since I joined from The Guardian I have taken the last six months to look at how we use agencies.’

In addition, Vodafone is launching a pitch process to appoint a separate agency focused purely on supporting Vodafone's enterprise market. Wray said that he is seeking an agency that is focused solely on enterprise. The process will start next month.

Paratus was appointed last May after a competitive pitch that saw the mobile phone company ditch long-term incumbents Harvard PR and Shine Communications. Paratus took charge of Vodafone's consumer, b2b and social media accounts, worth a combined £500,000. 

Paratus came under fire last May for a series of emails issued on Vodafone’s behalf, which Wolfstar’s Jed Hallam attacked as poor blogger relations.

Last September, Vodafone UK recruited The Guardian's communications editor Wray to replace Julien Cozens, who had been with the firm for ten years. 

Vodafone was last week named as the world's fifth most valuable brand in the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report league table. The Vodafone brand was said to be worth £19bn and the firm was the only UK company to make the top ten.


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