Roomba parent iRobot chooses WE as AOR in North America, China

Allison+Partners was the incumbent on the account, which has a low-seven-figure budget.

Roomba parent iRobot chooses WE as AOR in North America, China

BEDFORD, MA: Roomba parent iRobot has selected WE Communications as its AOR for corporate, consumer product, and executive communications in North America and China.

WE’s work on the account will begin on November 1 in the U.S. and China. WE is focused on press for consumer products, including the Roomba vacuum and Braava family of mopping robots, as well as iRobot corporate.

Alyssa Garnick, EVP of consumer and MD of WE’s New York office, will serve as the global account lead. Corporate comms and product PR work will be supported by offices in at least seven countries.

The firm will provide services such as corporate comms strategy, business press and corporate comms media relations, CEO and executive comms, consumer product, lifestyle press, tech reviews, consumer launches, and measurement, she said. The budget is in the low seven figures, said Garnick.

"We are looking to increase awareness and penetration of our products in households around the globe and get people used to the idea of robots cleaning your homes," said Matthew Lloyd, senior director of communications at iRobot. "We want WE to help position iRobot as a leading technology innovator on a global scale."

The company conducted a global pitch between August and October with two rounds: the first requiring agencies to answer an RFP with ideas and a strategic proposal, and the second including live presentations in the U.S. and China. Three agencies were invited to the final round in late September.

WE has been working with iRobot for three years to support its consumer products on social media in European markets.

Incumbent Allison+Partners pitched to retain the account.

"We enjoyed greatly our three-year run helping transform iRobot into a global consumer brand," Jonathan Heit, cofounder and chair of Allison+Partners’ technology practice, said via email. "We are very proud of the accolades we’ve received for the work and, more importantly, the business results of our partnership."

Lloyd said Allison did a "fantastic job" for iRobot in North America and China, but said the company needed an agency partner that was a better fit globally. The company has made two acquisitions in the past year: Japanese company Sales On Demand Corporation and Robopolis, whose operations span seven European countries. Headquartered outside of Boston, iRobot is a public company, traded on Nasdaq, with more than 900 employees. 2016 revenue was $661 million.

"Recognizing our changing needs as an organization on a global scale, we wanted to revisit whether WE would be a better fit for our broader needs," said Lloyd.

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