Philips starts global review

Philips has triggered an agency scramble by putting its multi-million pound global PR account out to pitch.

Scramble £7m Philips pitch
Scramble £7m Philips pitch

The account, currently held by Manning Selvage & Lee and Text 100, incorporates PR on all Philips consumer products, lighting, healthcare and corporate divisions across the world.

A source with knowledge of the account suggested that, including various regional spends, the account was worth up to £7m. Another senior agency source claimed that a figure in excess of £5m was ‘accurate’.

The pitch process is in the early stages and is expected to be completed over the next two to three months ‘Philips is an amazing brand and is the type of account that doesn’t come up very often,’ said one agency MD.

He speculated that there are only a handful of agencies with a large enough network to service an account of this magnitude and that MS&L might not necessarily fit into that bracket any more.

Shai Dewan, senior press officer at Philips, said that the decision to review the account ‘does not indicate any dissatisfaction’ with either Manning Selvage & Lee or Text 100. She added that both agencies had been ‘warmly invited to pitch again’ along with other selected agencies.

Nick Giles, MD of Text 100, confirmed the agency would be re-pitching and that the majority of the work it does for Philips is in the Asia Pacific region. Text 100 first worked with Philips on its semiconductor business in 2005, but this is not part of the re-pitch as it was spun-out into a separate company NXP in 2006. Manning Selvage & Lee declined to comment.

Although the brief is shared, Manning Selvage & Lee has had a longer relationship with Philips and has the lion’s share of the account it officially won five years ago.

According to a well-placed industry source, MS&L’s business is centred on a relatively small number of major multinational clients, such as Philips, Procter & Gamble and GM. The source added that the potential loss of one of these key clients could have severe repercussions for the agency across the globe.

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