HP consolidates global PR into three agencies

PALO ALTO, CA - Hewlett-Packard has selected Hill & Knowlton, Porter Novelli and Burson-Marsteller as its global agencies of record, after months of speculation in the biggest communications consolidation since IBM's PR review in summer 2001.

Tim Marklein, HP's director of corporate media relations, confirmed HP had concluded the review process, and is in final contract negotiations with three agencies. He declined to name those agencies.

But PRWeek US has learned what areas each of the three will work on, barring any unforeseen circumstances. H&K will handle corporate PR and communications for the personal systems group, which includes PCs and handheld devices. PN, which has worked with HP since 1991, will continue to provide PR for the imaging and printing groups. Burson will handle PR for the two enterprise groups -- the systems group, which includes servers, storage, and software, and HP Services, which includes consulting support and managed services.

The HP-Compaq merger brought more than 50 PR firms around the world to the new HP. The company issued an RFP in early August to consolidate its PR agencies down to three.

Weber Shandwick Worldwide, Waggener Edstrom, Edelman, Golin/Harris International, Applied Communications, and the Hoffman Agency also participated in the review, although only Golin and Hoffman made it to the final round with the three selected agencies.

Golin had provided PR for HP's enterprise solutions, while Applied did the corporate work. And Hoffman, which began to work with HP a month after opening 15 years ago, provided PR to the enterprise groups now being offered to Burson.

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