Ogilvy wins three-agency battle for Nasdaq account

NEW YORK: Ogilvy PR has emerged triumphant from a three-way shootout to be Nasdaq's agency of record.

NEW YORK: Ogilvy PR has emerged triumphant from a three-way shootout to be Nasdaq's agency of record.

The two other finalists for the RFP were Fleishman-Hillard and Ruder Finn offshoot RF Binder Partners.

Nasdaq's previous agency of record had been the Torrenzano Group, a New York-based boutique headed by former New York Stock Exchange communications executive Richard Torrenzano.

Torrenzano and Nasdaq parted ways at the end of July, when the agency's contract with the stock exchange expired. Torrenzano had held the account for four years.

The new task handed to Ogilvy signals an expansion of PR efforts. "We were looking for an agency that could offer us a breadth and depth of services," said Bethany Sherman, SVP of Nasdaq corporate communications.

The contract is valued at "less than $1 million," according to Sherman.

Most of the work entails media relations, she said.

The account includes work within the US. Nasdaq continues to work with Incepta's Citigate in the UK and Omnicom's Gavin Anderson in Germany.

Ogilvy said it plans to place a core team of up to seven account executives on the Nasdaq job.

Ogilvy is taking on the business at a sensitive time for Nasdaq. Historically, it was seen as a market for smaller companies, and as a listed company grew, it traditionally graduated to the NYSE. That changed during the tech bubble, when the Nasdaq experienced rapid growth as it largely married its fortunes to what eventually proved to be the tech-stock bubble.

During that time, a deluge of high-flying technology and internet companies listed on the exchange via headline-grabbing IPOs.

Since the tech-stock bubble burst, the Nasdaq has fallen on harder times as the IPO pipeline has dried up and a large number of its listed companies have gone bust.

Nasdaq's new agency, however, did not appear to think that its client would disavow its technology roots.

"I don't think there's a movement away from tech," said Robert Mathias, MD at Ogilvy. "But it would be nice for people to appreciate the full breadth and depth of its listed companies - absolutely."

The Nasdaq has also been forced to indefinitely delay its own IPO, a listing that had been widely expected before its recent troubles.

In December, Wick Simmons, the market's chairman and CEO, announced plans to step aside following published reports that the Nasdaq's board wanted new leadership.

Sherman didn't directly address any of the issues facing Nasdaq, but said, "We're one of the most recognized brands in world, and we plan to increase the understanding of that brand."

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