VMware moves US AOR account from OutCast to H+K

PALO ALTO, CA: Software maker VMware has selected Hill+Knowlton Strategies as its PR AOR in the US, following a competitive review.

PALO ALTO, CA: Software maker VMware has selected Hill+Knowlton Strategies as its PR AOR in the US, following a competitive review.

H+K took over the account July 1. The firm has replaced Next Fifteen-owned The OutCast Agency. VMware invited OutCast to re-pitch for the business, but the agency elected not to participate in the review.

VMware reviewed RFI submissions from 11 agencies ranging from boutique to mid-size firms with experience in the b-to-b and enterprise IT market, a company spokesperson said. From that initial review, the company asked three agencies to pitch for the business. The spokesperson declined to name the other participating firms.  

“We believe that H+K is the right agency partner to help us deliver our story to the market and to reach new influencers,” said Joan Stone, senior director of influencer relations at VMware, in a statement. “We were impressed with their deep corporate experience, their handle on the media landscape, their approach for storytelling, and their relevant team experience, among other capabilities.”

VMware returned its PR business to OutCast in 2009, less than a year after the agency lost the account to FleishmanHillard. Fleishman did not re-pitch for the business when it went up for review.

At the time, the account was valued at seven figures.

H+K staffers based in San Francisco, New York, and Austin, TX, will work on the account.

“We're looking forward to partnering with the VMware team immediately – using both traditional and non-traditional media tactics, strategies, messaging, and narratives – where we can help tie market leading products and solutions from VMware into larger cloud and virtualization stories,” said Charles Zinkowski, SVP and deputy director of the US technology practice at H+K, via email.

VMware provides virtualization and cloud computing software. The company, which is majority owned by storage vendor EMC, reported $4.61 billion in revenue last year and serves more than 500,000 customers globally.

Last month, EMC and VMware spun off a data and cloud computing venture called Pivotal with 1,250 employees from both companies. Former VMware CEO Paul Maritz is leading the new company, into which General Electric invested $105 million.

Earlier this year, VMware said it would cut about 7% of its workforce as it attempts to streamline its business.

In May, software company Informatica hired H+K as global AOR in a consolidation of its PR agency roster. H+K also works with software and technology companies CA Technologies, Salesforce.com, Qualcomm, Responsys, and Polycom.

This story was updated on July 8 with comment from Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

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