WPP beats out Omnicom in bid for Hitachi Data Systems

SANTA CLARA, CA: Storage technology firm Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has selected WPP to handle its PR around the world, with Blanc & Otus (B&O) leading the $2.5 million account as global AOR.

SANTA CLARA, CA: Storage technology firm Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has selected WPP to handle its PR around the world, with Blanc & Otus (B&O) leading the $2.5 million account as global AOR.

The work will be split by region between B&O and fellow WPP firm Hill & Knowlton.

The review came down to WPP, represented by B&O, and Omnicom, represented by Ketchum. B&O has worked with HDS in the US since mid-2003. Ketchum worked with HDS in Germany.

The selection marks the beginning of the company's effort to develop more consistent global messaging. Its advertising is already handled by another WPP firm, Young & Rubicam.

Tony Hynes, director of global PR, said that once he began looking at the top 15 global PR agencies, he realized that most were from WPP or Omnicom.

Hynes settled on having a network of agencies from either of those two holding companies for "economies of scale." The $2.5 billion company is in the process of consolidating its agency roster down to 16 from more than 30 agencies.

Hynes said he was very impressed with the work that B&O had done for HDS, and that WPP was more of an integrated entity.

Hynes also picked B&O's London office to oversee PR in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), while H&K's offices in Mexico and Hong Kong will oversee PR in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, respectively.

HDS' efforts to develop more consistent messaging triggered the search. Hynes said the need for tighter integration between agencies is what led him to focus on holding companies.

Over the next three months, in 12 countries in EMEA, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific, HDS will hold competitive pitches for WPP agencies. Those agencies will report to the three regional agencies, which, in turn, will report to B&O in San Francisco.

Because HDS operates on a global scale, it made sense to have an AOR that could help refine and focus the company's global messaging, said Hynes.

"That lack of coordination among agencies had its ramifications," said Hynes. "We were still being seen just for storage hardware and not the bigger picture of the complete solutions we were offering."

In addition to its international work with HDS, H&K has also picked up work in the US with Yahoo. H&K will handle PR for e-mail, Instant Messenger, and photo sharing.

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