NEW YORK: The US Fund for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has overhauled its PR roster, hiring Porter Novelli and entertainment PR firm ID after a competitive RFP process.
The 66-year-old organization supports UNICEF by raising money for its programs and performing awareness activities. The agency hires come as the group has seen dramatic growth of its regional offices in terms of both advocacy and fundraising, said Lisa Benenson, SVP for marketing and communications at the US Fund for UNICEF.
The group hired the agencies as its contracts with incumbents PMK-BNC and Public Communications were coming to an end. Those two firms, as well as 11 others including Porter and ID, submitted proposals for the accounts.
Porter will help the organization with the development of a strategic communications plan to increase audience engagement and drive fundraising. It will also work with regional offices on local market visibility and event planning.
The firm was chosen because of its “strong background in changing attitudes and behaviors,” said Benenson. She was also drawn to its integrated digital and traditional outreach methods.
For Porter, the contract spoke to its heritage working on accounts that deal with topics such as clean water, child nutrition, HIV/AIDS awareness, and sex trafficking, said Ayanna Robinson, SVP in the firm's Atlanta office.
“Because of our history on similar accounts, we understand the many challenges stakeholders in these areas face,” Robinson said.
The firm's goal will be “helping people understand how [the Fund] helps UNICEF as well as the ultimate outcome of the work being done,” she said.
ID will manage the organization's relationships within the Hollywood community and expand its profile in both consumer and entertainment press, as well as overseeing marquee special events.
“There are a lot of worthy causes competing for attention. UNICEF has been around for almost 70 years, and its impact is well-documented in the media,” Heather Greenfield, SVP of brand strategies at ID, said about the challenges and opportunities of the account. “We have to connect the dots from entertainment to UNICEF's call to action of reaching every child in need. The celebrity participation will open many doors, but from there, it's about finding a way to inspire audiences to get involved in helping children around the world.”
Benenson and Robinson declined to state the length or budget of the contracts.
PMK-BNC, which had been the fund's PR AOR since 2010, will continue to work on UNICEF's Danny Kaye's Centennial program and its representation of celebrity ambassador Selena Gomez, said Cindi Berger, the firm's co-chair and co-CEO.
“We have worked together for a number of years and our contract was up; it's fine,” Berger said. “We will certainly work closely with them on other events.”
A representative from Public Communications did not return requests for comment.