WASHINGTON, DC: African-American entertainment behemoth BET Holdings has selected Fleishman-Hillard as its first-ever agency of record.
WASHINGTON, DC: African-American entertainment behemoth BET
Holdings has selected Fleishman-Hillard as its first-ever agency of
BET VP of corporate communications Michael Lewellen said the account
will be managed out of Fleishman’s St. Louis office under the
supervision of SVP and senior partner Martha Mitchell. Mitchell is the
agency’s highest-ranking black executive.
Until Fleishman’s hiring, BET handled its PR in-house and hired agencies
and consultants when needed. But Lewellen said company expansion
necessitated a full-time agency of record.
’As we have evolved, the PR needs became more sophisticated and
multi-faceted,’ he explained. ’We need more resources to commit to
projects, and we want to develop consistency in messages and look.’
About a dozen agencies, some minority-owned, vied for the one-year
contract, which is worth about dollars 250,000. Lewellen emphasized that
this sum does not represent BET’s total PR budget and that the figure
includes fees and expenses. Some PR functions will continue to be
handled by BET’s eight-person staff.
Lewellen said Fleishman’s worldwide network and experience with
brand-related accounts tipped the scales in its favor. That the account
team will be ’led by an African-American’ also contributed to the
decision, Lewellen added.
Fleishman will play no role in BET chairman Bob Johnson’s bid to start a
new airline, DC Air. The airline is a personal business of Johnson’s and
is not associated with BET Holdings. However, the upstart airline has
hired a public affairs firm, though Lewellen declined to identify it due
to the sensitivity of the approval process.