Google UK moves product PR account from Portland to Nelson Bostock

Google UK has awarded a lucrative account for work on its smartphone, Gmail service and other products to the agency Nelson Bostock, and handed Ogilvy PR an expanded brief, PRWeek has learned.

Nelson Bostock to handle PR for Google's product portfolio business
Nelson Bostock to handle PR for Google's product portfolio business

The product portfolio press office account was put out to competitive pitch in January, following creds meetings with a number of PR agencies last year. It was previously held by Portland.

It is believed to be worth in the region of £500,000 per year, and includes Google's email service Gmail, the smartphone Pixel (pictured above) and video-sharing site YouTube, among others.

Nelson Bostock, whose parent company Unlimited Group was sold to investment firm DBAY Advisors for £75.8m in December, declined to comment. The group's 2015 revenue was approaching £8m, making it collectively the UK's 31st-largest PR firm, according to the PRWeek UK Top 150.

In January, a Google spokeswoman told PRWeek the company was "always speaking" to PR agencies, and worked with several - including Ogilvy PR - on a project basis.

An agency source has now confirmed to PRWeek that Ogilvy would be handling the launch of Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by Google's assistant software. The agency also continues to do some work with YouTube.

The tech giant, which is headquartered in California, was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin and recorded revenues of $89.5bn (£71.2bn) in 2016.

In recent weeks the company has seen a number of marcoms groups, public sector bodies and private companies pull advertising from Google and its owned brands, including YouTube, due to the risk of those ads appearing alongside objectionable content. 

Several UK PR professionals said Google had handled the issue poorly, having sat on the problem too long despite having known about it "for years".

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