Kinko's holds closed pitch as part of shift in strategy

DALLAS: Half-a-dozen agencies are presenting invitation-only pitches to Kinko's as the ubiquitous chain of copy shops considers a shift in its communications strategy.

DALLAS: Half-a-dozen agencies are presenting invitation-only pitches to Kinko's as the ubiquitous chain of copy shops considers a shift in its communications strategy.

PR director Maggie Thill confirmed that Kinko's is in the midst of a closed agency review, is not accepting unsolicited proposals, and would select a firm later this summer.

Edelman has served as agency of record for the past three years, since before Kinko's began a string of sweeping changes that included the 2001 hiring of CEO Gary Kusin from HQ Global Workplaces, and moving its headquarters to Dallas from Ventura, CA.

Edelman handles the account out of New York, although its Dallas office has helped out on projects since the company moved there early last year, said Russell Dubner, EVP of Edelman's corporate and public affairs practice.

Although the agency has recently provided Kinko's with some media-strategy consulting, consumer outreach dominates the account. For example, Edelman has been helping Kinko's communicate about its establishing of wireless internet "hot spots" in its stores through a partnership with Dallas-based WiFi provider T-Mobile. That service is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

Spokespeople with Kinko's and Edelman complimented each other's work, but would

not comment on whether Edelman was invited to repitch for the account.

"We understand their need, at this point in their history, to consider new directions to build their business in the commercial marketplace," Dubner said.

"Edelman has been a terrific partner," Thill added, noting the significant changes in Kinko's business since the relationship began.

Kinko's is said to be seeking an agency with a strong Dallas presence. National agencies with offices in Dallas include Golin/Harris International, Burson-Marsteller, Weber Shandwick, Fleishman-Hillard, and GCI Group. Ketchum also has a Dallas outpost, but sources confirmed that the agency is not pitching for the account.

No other agency would comment on the review.

Thill once worked for a predecessor of WS' many-times-merged Dallas office. She transferred to Los Angeles with what was then BSMG before taking the Kinko's job, which ultimately brought her back to Dallas.

Thill would not estimate the value of the contract, but observers believe the fact that Edelman handles the business primarily out of its New York headquarters suggests that it is a sizeable piece of business.

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