LG sticks with WPP's LG-One for global corp comms work

The group is made up of staffers from Ogilvy PR and Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: LG Electronics has retained WPP’s LG-One multiagency unit to handle its global corporate communications work.

LG-One, comprised of Ogilvy Public Relations and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, was selected on June 30 following a competitive review that began in March. The new contract went into effect on July 1.

Seven groups, including teams from holding companies, were invited to pitch, said Ken Hong, LG Electronics’ senior director of global communications, via email. He added that LG has added five countries to LG-One’s remit: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Portugal. The budget ranges up to $10 million globally.

"The work should not diverge too much from previous years," he said.

In terms of upcoming campaigns, LG-One will handle the company’s communications for IFA Berlin, a consumer electronics and home appliances trade show, which will take place in two months.

WPP created LG-One to serve the electronics company in multiple markets around the globe; it has worked on the account since 2009.

The RFP challenged the responding agencies to come up with approaches that would "move the LG brand to the next level," said Amy Messenger, LG-One global client relationship director and Ogilvy PR U.S. technology practice lead

"Our approach to that was based on multiple years of working with them, where we felt we needed to drive some emotional appeal for the brand that transcended products," she explained. "In terms of how we delivered on that, we brought new approaches to content, creation, and dissemination that could help to drive the earned and owned media programs."

Messenger explained that LG-One works with the company in more than 20 markets, including its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

"Each market has a unique scope, depending on the needs for those markets," she said. "In many of the markets, we serve the home electronics division, home appliances, mobile phones, and some corporate PR needs. We are also running b-to-b lines of business."

Messenger and her counterpart at Hill+Knowlton, Vivian Lines, are leading the LG account. Messenger is responsible for the countries handled by Ogilvy, mostly in the Americas, while Singapore-based Lines is overseeing H+K’s markets, the bulk of which are in Europe and Asia.

LG previously reviewed the account three years ago. A representative from Hill+Knowlton was not immediately available for comment.

"[Our renewal] speaks to the ability to have multiple firms coming together from WPP so that we have this great breadth of service offerings and choices for LG," said Messenger. "It is part of the LG culture to always to strive to improve and do more; that is what we brought to the table: ideas on how to evolve this even further."

Prior to selecting LG-One as its PR agency team seven years ago, Ogilvy PR served as LG’s AOR in the U.S. since 2004. The brand also previously worked with Burson-Marsteller in Korea.

LG also works with GCI in Canada and AxiCom, part of Cohn & Wolfe, in Germany.  

The brand is focusing on growth in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia, as well as its core revenue-generating markets, Hong told PRWeek last month. He explained that the company has "plenty to do" in terms of branding.

"For this year, I would love to see us move toward more of a total measurement type of strategy, where earned and paid and everything is kind of lumped into one formula so we don’t have to separate digital, social media, and traditional PR metrics," Hong said at the time.

LG announced this week that it will work with Volkswagen to jointly develop a connected car platform to enable vehicles to communicate with external devices. LG also recently created a division under its home entertainment department specializing in producing medical image equipment.

In April, LG reported a 65.5% year-over-year increase in operating profit for the first quarter of 2016, attributed to home appliance and TV sales. However, due to a drop in sales of older models, the company’s mobile division posted an operating loss in the quarter. Revenue dropped 4.5% in the period.

This story was updated on July 7 with quotes from Hong and additional information.

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