NEW YORK: Computer giant IBM has chosen three agencies to manage
its £40m global PR operations and no Top 10 agency has won any of
the accounts outright.
Product work went to Text 100, the global tech agency; year-old Magnet
Communications, a £16m US-only firm, won the technology innovation
and reputation management brief; and customer contact went to a
just-formed, IBM-exclusive Omnicom network called One Blue, which will
be led by Ketchum partner Rob Flaherty.
One Blue is said to include Fleishman-Hillard and IBM incumbent Brodeur
Worldwide, but Flaherty said a final decision on participants would vary
with IBM's needs.
IBM vice-president of corporate communications Jon Iwata praised Omnicom
for creating an organisation that fitted the client's needs.
Each agency has a two-year contract from 1 October. Combined, they will
serve 90 per cent of IBM's PR business. The remaining 10 per cent will
go to agencies in smaller countries where the three main firms lack a
Paul Jensen, Magnet executive vice-president and head of the agency's
technology practice, will lead his agency's account.
CEO Aedhmar Hynes will lead Text 100's work. It is the only firm to
release billings estimates, which are expected to exceed £12m.
Iwata would not be specific about IBM's total PR spend, but said that in
consolidating from 50 agencies worldwide to three, IBM would gain
economies of scale.
IBM's in-house PR operation was also reoriented to fit the three-agency
model. Three boards, each made up of senior communications executives,
will collaborate with each other and agency representatives.
A fourth board for corporate communications will handle internal
communications, finances and public policy. When the fourth board has
agency requirements, it will either use agencies on a project basis or
one of the three main agencies. One Blue will be the preferred agency
for public affairs and crisis work.
Losers included incumbents TSI Communications and Manning Selvage & Lee.