"We have made several global acquisitions, in addition to some domestic initiatives, in the last year to 14 months, so our need for a strategic, broader PR program that had global reach is really what our company and what our needs called for, as opposed to the last several years," said Blair LaHaye, director of communications for WTC.
WTC acquired the IronKids brand from the Sara Lee Corporation in early 2009 and partnered with HaB Licensing at the end of the year to offer licensing outside of North and South America. The company was also acquired by Providence Equity Partners in September 2008, which meant "Our needs changed and shifted," LaHaye added.Ketchum will "be tapping into a multitude of different experts, which will supplement a core team," said Ann Wool, partner and MD of KSE, and the team will be global. The agency will provide media relations, executive visibility, and social media support to WTC.
"We're going to be supporting them in various markets in their global expansion," Wool said, "and really put them on the map as a big global sports entity."
Meanwhile, Ketchum is working to build up its sports portfolio, and is hiring for both the sports and entertainment divisions, Wool said.
"We've had a sports practice for many years and we've done lots and lots of exciting sponsorship programs, but these last couple of years, we've seen a really exciting increase in actually working for some of the properties themselves," Wool said, noting clients such as the US Olympic Committee and Russian-based hockey league Kontinental. "We're definitely making a push into creating global standards and a global account like IronMan is something we can build on the back of."
Catalyst PR confirmed that the agency had worked with WTC, but declined further comment.