Sony Online Entertainment hires Shift as AOR

SAN DIEGO: Sony Online Entertainment, the gaming division of Sony, hired Shift Communications as AOR, effective mid-May.

SAN DIEGO: Sony Online Entertainment, the gaming division of Sony, hired Shift Communications as AOR, effective mid-May. The agency was chosen after a competitive review involving two other agencies, said Scott Gulbransen, senior director of global PR for SOE.

Gulbransen said SOE "had not done AOR in the past," adding that it worked mostly with gaming-related agencies on project work. "I really felt like with a lot of the titles we have coming up, which are much more in the casual gamer space, that we needed an agency that could deliver some really strong mainstream consumer results, along with social media skills, too."

The review took place in April, and an official RFP was not issued. Gulbransen declined to name the other agencies in the review and would not disclose the financial details of the account. The company, he said, most recently worked on project work with Bender/Helper Impact, which was not a part of the review.

As AOR, Shift will help SOE with corporate communications, PR around product launches, and social media, said Todd Defren, principal at Shift. Gulbransen said the company is also working with Elasticity for event and special project work.

"Given the rise in social media in particular, there is an opportunity for the SOE brand to have more of a consistent voice," Defren said. "So it's not always about the games, but the company as a developer itself. On top of that, we'll be handling game launches, with two major ones upcoming this year."

Gulbransen started at SOE in March, after nine years as senior manager for PR and social media for Intuit. Shift previously had pitched for Intuit work, he added.

One of the first major things Shift will do as AOR, Gulbransen said, is work on the launch of the DC Universe online, slated for release this fall.

"Shift, I think, gets pigeon-holed a little too much. They are a good PR firm; they are not just a social media focused group," he added. "They bring those things together, and for us, that's what we need."

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