INTERNATIONAL: Sony Asia Pacific looks to slash PR firms in revamp

SINGAPORE: Electronics giant Sony is considering slashing its roster of PR agencies to just one firm across Sony Marketing Asia-Pacific (SMAP), SonyEricsson Asia-Pacific and Sony Singapore.

SMAP marcoms manager Sheena Yu said the company wanted to consolidate the account to gain synergies, yet Sony's diverse product portfolio is making it hard to find PR firms with no account conflicts.

Yu confirmed four agencies were pitching for the combined brief, believed to include Weber Shandwick, Burson-Marsteller, Golin/Harris Forrest and another undisclosed PR firm, all of whom are presenting credentials to marcoms teams from the three Sony divisions.

'Every consultancy we saw had competitive accounts to some aspect of Sony's business, so I don't know whether it is feasible for the three Sony companies to have the same consultancy,' said Yu.

If the move to consolidate is abandoned, SMAP plans to call its own pitch, said Yu, adding that SMAP was outsourcing its PR due to an overburdening of its in-house work.

The winning bid will work on a project basis to create support and collateral material for Sony's regional offices.

Sony Singapore previously handled the bulk of its PR in-house, but outsourced some work to both B-M and AsiaPR.com.

SonyEricsson has also worked with Golin/Harris Forrest on a project basis.

The joint mobile phone venture, launched last October, staged a raft of worldwide pitches in late 2001 in a bid to build its agency roster (PRWeek, 25 October 2001).

At the time of its launch, SonyEricsson announced it wanted to be number one in the mobile multimedia product market within five years.

Sony recently began a PR drive in the US, using a street-based campaign to launch its SonyEricsson telephone/digital camera where passers-by were able to take their own pictures (PRWeek, 16 August).

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