NORTHBROOK, IL: Insurance giant Allstate has decided to move its six-figure PR account from Edelman to Hill & Knowlton, the company announced late last month.
NORTHBROOK, IL: Insurance giant Allstate has decided to move its
six-figure PR account from Edelman to Hill & Knowlton, the company
announced late last month.
According to Allstate VP of corporate relations Peter Debreceny, the
company decided to swap shops in order to work with a firm boasting more
experience in helping companies through major corporate restructurings.
He noted that H&K owns Banner McBride, a NY-based ’culture change
specialist’ that has worked with clients such as Motorola.
The move is one of many changes undertaken in recent months by the
insurance giant. The company announced in November that it was switching
its sales emphasis from insurance agents to the phone and Internet. As
part of that move, Allstate announced a dollars 600 million corporate
cost-cutting program that included a 25% reduction in its corporate PR
staff. The switch to a vastly different sales model obviously represents
a major challenge for the company’s PR staffers, especially from an
internal communications perspective.
’Our focus, PR-wise, is going to be a little different going forward
than in past years,’ Debreceny said. ’The concentration will be much
more on internal communications as we prepare the company for
Debreceny would not detail the exact PR fees involved, but did confirm
the account would be in the six-figure annual fee range. Industry
estimates on the size of the account have ranged from dollars 500,000 to
dollars 2 million annually, though Debreceny said the account value was
towards the low end of that speculative range.
Allstate began an agency review process in early November, originally
getting proposals from about 10 firms and quickly narrowing its search
to four: H&K, Edelman, Ogilvy and BSMG, according to Chicago office GM
Reineke added that at least half a dozen H&K staffers (including Harlan
Teller, who heads up H&K’s national corporate communications practice)
will work on the Allstate account. That team will include Banner McBride
people, although the account will be handled out of H&K’s Chicago
Reineke attributed the account win in part to past work H&K has done for