P&G-Gillette union raises questions about future PR

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble's $57 billion acquisition of Gillette was overwhelmingly approved by Gillette shareholders this month, but questions remain as to the future of the two corporate giants' PR accounts.

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble's $57 billion acquisition of Gillette was overwhelmingly approved by Gillette shareholders this month, but questions remain as to the future of the two corporate giants' PR accounts.

"It's too early to tell what impact the merger will have on the way Gillette supports its brands through the use of PR or the use of specific firms," said Eric Kraus, Gillette's VP of corporate communications.

The massive consumer-goods merger is slated to be completed some time this fall.

P&G noted that it is too soon to discuss the potential implications of the deal on both in-house staff and agencies, and said that it would have a better answer after the deal had closed.

Kraus declined to go into specifics, but did say that Gillette and P&G both remain committed to PR as a discipline. "One of the strategies that both companies share is supporting brands with aggressive PR activities," he said. "So I do not see any change in that strategy."

He added that no agency review is currently under way. "There has been no impact to the agency network or to our PR plan going forward until the merger is complete," Kraus said. "[At that point,] we'll sit back and then evaluate and take appropriate steps."

P&G works with many agencies across its various brands, including Fleishman-Hillard, PainePR, and MS&L. Gillette does a good deal of work with Porter Novelli and dozens of other agencies across the world, including Alan Taylor Communications and PainePR.

In an e-mail message, Julie Winskie, Porter Novelli partner and consumer industry group leader, said, "We have been assured 'business as usual' on the Gillette brands that we represent until the completion of the merger."

Winskie said of the agency's accounts with both P&G and Gillette, "[We] have every reason to believe this relationship will continue in the future."

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