Allstate switches to H&K, drops Edelman in PR shift

NORTHBROOK, IL: Insurance giant Allstate has decided to move its six-figure PR account from Edelman to Hill & Knowlton, the company announced late last month.

NORTHBROOK, IL: Insurance giant Allstate has decided to move its six-figure PR account from Edelman to Hill & Knowlton, the company announced late last month.

NORTHBROOK, IL: Insurance giant Allstate has decided to move its

six-figure PR account from Edelman to Hill & Knowlton, the company

announced late last month.



According to Allstate VP of corporate relations Peter Debreceny, the

company decided to swap shops in order to work with a firm boasting more

experience in helping companies through major corporate restructurings.

He noted that H&K owns Banner McBride, a NY-based ’culture change

specialist’ that has worked with clients such as Motorola.



The move is one of many changes undertaken in recent months by the

insurance giant. The company announced in November that it was switching

its sales emphasis from insurance agents to the phone and Internet. As

part of that move, Allstate announced a dollars 600 million corporate

cost-cutting program that included a 25% reduction in its corporate PR

staff. The switch to a vastly different sales model obviously represents

a major challenge for the company’s PR staffers, especially from an

internal communications perspective.



’Our focus, PR-wise, is going to be a little different going forward

than in past years,’ Debreceny said. ’The concentration will be much

more on internal communications as we prepare the company for

change.’



Debreceny would not detail the exact PR fees involved, but did confirm

the account would be in the six-figure annual fee range. Industry

estimates on the size of the account have ranged from dollars 500,000 to

dollars 2 million annually, though Debreceny said the account value was

towards the low end of that speculative range.



Allstate began an agency review process in early November, originally

getting proposals from about 10 firms and quickly narrowing its search

to four: H&K, Edelman, Ogilvy and BSMG, according to Chicago office GM

Gene Reineke.



Reineke added that at least half a dozen H&K staffers (including Harlan

Teller, who heads up H&K’s national corporate communications practice)

will work on the Allstate account. That team will include Banner McBride

people, although the account will be handled out of H&K’s Chicago

office.



Reineke attributed the account win in part to past work H&K has done for

Nationwide Insurance.



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