SEATTLE: Razorfish is reviewing PR agencies, in a search that began before Publicis' recent announcement that it would acquire the digital marketing shop from Microsoft.
The account is a monthly five-figure retainer, according to an industry source. This would be Razorfish's first AOR, but the firm has previously worked with agencies, including Becker PR, on a project basis.
David Deal, VP of marketing for Razorfish, confirmed the RFP has been under way since June and said the acquisition would not impact the process. He declined to name the agencies pitching for it, but said the company is considering “several strong candidates” and expect to make a decision by Q4.
He added that bringing on a PR agency is a “cost-efficient” way for Razorfish to leverage its growing popularity.
“Over the past 18 months, the Razorfish brand name has been far more noticeable in the marketplace,” Deal told PRWeek. “And we think we have a great opportunity to capitalize on this brand currency that Razorfish is building.”
Deal credited Razorfish's heightened brand awareness to increased thought leadership efforts by its senior team, the launch of several employee blogs, the agency's presence on Twitter, and its recent published reports. Razorfish has also acquired agencies abroad that have incorporated the Razorfish name, he said.
“I think even the shortening of our name from Avenue A Razorfish to just Razorfish has helped increase our visibility,” Deal noted. “All those factors have come together to increase our brand currency.”
Last year the agency also invited news media to its annual client summit for the first time in the nine-year history of the event and launched new practice areas, he added.
On Monday, August 10, Publicis announced it would acquire Razorfish for about $530 million, in a deal that is expected to close during Q4 2009. Razorfish's brand and management team is expected to remain intact. Razorfish, considered one of the largest interactive advertising and marketing agencies, has several high-profile clients including Best Buy, Ford, and McDonald's.
“We're in a great position with the Razorfish brand,” Deal said. “And we want to take what's a really strong brand and make it even stronger with the help of an outstanding PR agency. That's what this is all about.”
The agency will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft until the deal is completed, Deal said.