Amazon taps Burson as lead firm, hires MWW's Savitt as consultant

SEATTLE: Amazon has ended its lengthy search for a lead agency by revealing that Burson-Marsteller has won the business.

SEATTLE: Amazon has ended its lengthy search for a lead agency by revealing that Burson-Marsteller has won the business.

The online retailing giant has also tapped Kathy Savitt, president of Seattle agency MWW/Savitt, to provide communications counseling and PR strategy development.

"Essentially, Amazon has selected MWW/Savitt for my counsel and time for 2003, and for senior corporate communications counsel, PR leadership, and strategy development," said Savitt. "Every year I have a couple of major assignments, and clearly, this will be one of them."

It's too early to determine what direction Savitt's work will take, as she held her first meeting with Amazon and Burson last week. But she predicted by the end of the month the focus and strategy for Amazon's PR this year would become clearer.

Bill Curry, Amazon's director of PR, explained that PR has helped introduce customers to Amazon and the shopping experience it provides.

Savitt said her work would be akin to what an interim VP of corporate communications would do, although she asserted that she does not have any such title with Amazon.

Last year, Amazon conducted a search for a lead PR agency, which was temporarily put on hold following the departure of marketing VP Lance Batchelor. Amazon eventually selected Burson, and quietly began to work with the global agency in August. Golin/Harris International, which owns MWW, previously served as Amazon's lead agency. Curry pointed out that Amazon works with many PR agencies around the world, and does not have an AOR.

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