WPP's PR interest is nearly doubled

LONDON: Advertising juggernaut WPP Group's PR division posted head-turning numbers in its third-quarter earnings report released last week, significantly outperforming the group's bread-and-butter ad business.

LONDON: Advertising juggernaut WPP Group's PR division posted head-turning numbers in its third-quarter earnings report released last week, significantly outperforming the group's bread-and-butter ad business.

LONDON: Advertising juggernaut WPP Group's PR division posted head-turning numbers in its third-quarter earnings report released last week, significantly outperforming the group's bread-and-butter ad business.

The figures - which don't yet include those of the recently-acquired Young & Rubicam group - show that PR interests grew by 45% year-on-year, making PR and public affairs account for 14% of total revenues and suggesting a reorientation toward PR. Its key PR firms include Ogilvy and Hill & Knowlton.

WPP's overall revenues were up 21%. Advertising accounts for the lion's share, raking in 45% of revenues - a rise of 19%. The company attributed the growth to winning a score of contracts from the likes of Ford, Goldman Sachs, Mazda, Motorola and Nike.

With powerhouse brands that now include Y&R's Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe and Landor, WPP's traditional power base is shifting, and the company will continue to shop around for small and mid-sized firms that complement its roster.

'It shows that PR is really coming of age,' said WestLB Panmure media analyst Lorna Tilbian from the UK where WPP is based. 'When Ogilvy won IBM in 1974, probably 70% of the account was advertising, and 30% was below the line, including PR. I would say that's been reversed.'



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