Global PR spend is estimated at $35m, but the roster is not expected to affect exist-ing agency relationships. ‘You’ll get the right to bid for new work,’ said a source. ‘But incumbents are not automatically fired.’
Edelman is one consultancy that has not made the cut, despite being one of Unilever’s key global agencies.
Instead, Unilever is understood to be in final talks with four agencies: Ogilvy PR, Fleishman-Hillard, GolinHarris and Salt London.
However, sources involved in the review told PRWeek that Unilever’s procurement department had yet to formalise the appointments.
Unilever’s brands include Dove, Lipton, Magnum, Persil and Vaseline.
Unilever began its search for roster agencies last May, when global media relations director Trevor Gorin said the firm was aiming to formalise its approach to PR agency use (PRWeek, 15 May 2008).
At present, Unilever’s PR business is fragmented among several agencies. Ogilvy PR handles the Dove brand, along with business in Asia-Pacific and the US. GolinHarris oversees Magnum globally, while Salt London has handled global programmes for Sunsilk, Lifebuoy, Omo and Lipton.
Representatives from all these agencies declined to comment. Unilever global brand PR director Marjolein van Kampen also declined to comment until the process is completed.
Unilever’s decision to centralise its global PR operations follows similar exercises across its marketing department. ‘It wants to ensure consistency of pricing, work and quality of ideas,’ said a source.