BAT hunts agency to build industry profile

British American Tobacco has called in Shandwick International, Rowland Worldwide and Edelman PR Worldwide to pitch for an international media relations account, aimed at positioning the company at the forefront of the tobacco industry.

British American Tobacco has called in Shandwick International,

Rowland Worldwide and Edelman PR Worldwide to pitch for an international

media relations account, aimed at positioning the company at the

forefront of the tobacco industry.



The decision to recruit a media relations agency is part of BAT’s plan

to take the industry lead from Philip Morris by raising its previously

low profile.



’We have a corporate goal of regaining our leadership in the tobacco

world and that’s partly commercial leadership and partly leadership in

the debate,’ said head of corporate communications David Bacon.



With the climate in Europe and the US becoming increasingly hostile

towards tobacco manufacturers, the company is pouring money into public

relations and international sponsorship.



According to reports this week, BAT is to buy the British Formula 1 team

Tyrell and will invest pounds 300 million in the sport over the next

five years.



This summer the company retained Edelman to handle its international

sponsorship; this relationship will continue. The account is run from

Montreal in Canada. BAT has no other agencies in the UK.



The company reorganised last year, merging four regional divisions into

one. They are Brown and Williamson Tobacco in the US, Souza Cruz in

Brazil, BAT Germany and the international British American Tobacco

Company.



British American Tobacco is to be floated on the London Stock Exchange

next year after its parent company, BAT Industries, merges its financial

services arm with Zurich International UK.



The media relations account is likely to cover the Americas, Asia and

Europe. The company does not trade in the UK. Outside this country its

brands include State Express 555, Lucky Strike, Benson and Hedges and

Kent.



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