Unilever chooses WS over Edelman for global account

LONDON: Unilever Bestfoods has appointed Weber Shandwick to its global corporate and consumer PR account as the company embarks on a fresh growth strategy. WS prevailed in the two-way shootout with Edelman.

LONDON: Unilever Bestfoods has appointed Weber Shandwick to its global corporate and consumer PR account as the company embarks on a fresh growth strategy. WS prevailed in the two-way shootout with Edelman.

The appointment by the Anglo-Dutch food giant comes as it faces tough challenges over the success of the Atkins Diet and ongoing public concern over obesity.

In its full-year results released on February 5, Unilever chairman Niall FitzGerald was due to outline the group's strategy beyond this year. It is approaching the end of its five-year "Path to Growth" plan, during which it has axed hundreds of lesser-known brands to focus on its 40 biggest sellers.

"We have agreed to work with WS for an initial period to get input into development of our food communications strategy," explained a Unilever spokesman.

The WS win sees UK chief executive Colin Byrne fend off former joint chief David Brain, now Edelman Europe president. The agency's recent hire of European director of consumer Bert Moore is understood to have played a major role in the pitch, in which Burson-Marsteller was involved at an earlier stage.

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