Orange puts £1m PR account out to pitch

LONDON - Mobile phone giant Orange has put its main PR account up for review, amid speculation that the budget for the account has been increased to £1m.

A spokesman for the mobile network confirmed that the review is underway, stating: 'As part of our existing practice of regularly assessing our PR work, we are currently reviewing our PR roster'.

He added that Orange has enjoyed an 'extremely productive relationship' with incumbent Cohn & Wolfe, and had invited it to take part in the pitch.

Further details of the review were not disclosed, but it is understood at least three agencies will be pitching to Orange in the coming fortnight, alongside C&W.

Orange head of global campaigns Catherine Bateman is understood to be overseeing the review.

The successful agency will report to Orange group director of corporate affairs Denise Lewis.

Industry sources suggest the pitch covers Orange's full remit of PR including tech, consumer and corporate work.

It is believed that the £500,000 fees on which C&W began work two years ago are to be doubled as an outcome of the review process, making it one of the most lucrative PR accounts in the UK.

C&W's appointment saw it assume the account from Joe Public Relations, as part of Orange's efforts to expand its operation into 50 countries (PRWeek, 19 May 2000).

The agency was initially briefed to handle UK and international corporate communications, expanding the brief to include tech and parts of the firm's sports sponsorship PR work.

In January last year Citigate Dewe Rogerson was hired to handle financial PR around the firm's flotation on the London Stock Exchange (PRWeek, 12 January 2001).

Orange re-appointed hatch-group-owned MacLaurin to handle PR for the Orange Prize for Fiction earlier this year, after reviewing consumer PR agencies towards the end of last year (PRWeek, 30 November 2001).

The firm will also use Karen Earl Associates for its sponsorship of rugby union tournaments this season.

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