Mobile network giant Vodafone rethinks £500k PR business in UK review

Vodafone has called a review of its lucrative UK PR business as it considers jettisoning retained agencies Shine Communications and Harvard PR.

PR business under review: Vodafone
PR business under review: Vodafone

The review will cover the consumer and b2b businesses, worth a combined £500,000.

Harvard has handled the Vodafone b2b account for eight years, having fought off a similar pitch in 2007 (PRWeek, 12 April 2007). The business is said to be Harvard's flagship account.

Shine took hold of the entire consumer business in the same 2007 pitch. The consumer work is understood to be the larger of the two accounts.

An agency source involved in the process suggested that Vodafone would attempt to consolidate the two retainers with one agency.

'Quite possibly, they are driving down cost,' said the source. 'They will certainly be looking at getting better value for money.'

The review is being headed by Vodafone UK director of external comms Aileen Thompson and head of external comms Julien Cozens.

Cozens told PRWeek: 'This was last done three years ago and we feel that now is an appropriate time to assess our needs again. Shine Communications and Harvard PR are our retained agencies and they will be involved in any potential pitch.'

Cozens declined to comment on whether the review would also incorporate Vodafone's internal PR spend.

The company has approximately 20 people at its UK PR team in Newbury, which is delineated from its group comms team in London.

Cozens confirmed that agencies retained by Vodafone Group would not be affected by the review. These include City incumbent Finsbury and corporate agency Tavistock.

Vodafone in the news

Vodafone recently hit the headlines when an offensive tweet was posted by one of the company's employees on Twitter. The company apologised and suspended the tweeter.

Simon Lewis departed his role as group director of corporate affairs at Vodafone in February 2009, becoming the Prime Minister's official spokesperson later last year.

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