Qualcomm hires Allison+Partners as North America PR AOR

WPP's BCW was the incumbent on the account.

Photo credit: Getty images
Photo credit: Getty images

SAN DIEGO: Allison+Partners has beaten out Weber Shandwick to win Qualcomm’s North American PR AOR account.

The MDC Partners-owned firm beat Interpublic’s largest PR agency in the final stages of the lucrative review during late summer.

Pete Lancia, VP of communications at Qualcomm, confirmed Allison+Partners as its new PR AOR, but declined to provide further details. Allison+Partners declined to comment.

As North America PR AOR, Allison+Partners will handle corporate and product comms, according to the RFI obtained by PRWeek.

During the initial stages of the review, Qualcomm sought an agency that could engage media, social influencers and industry analysts. Ideally an agency with expertise in the wireless semi-conduct business, it would also handle events, such as tradeshows, B2B comms and thought leadership.

BCW, the incumbent on the account, declined to comment. The WPP agency won the business in 2018 from Weber Shandwick. Weber Shandwick wasn’t immediately available for comment.

BCW Group's Pivot Integrated Communications most recently won an almost $1 million account providing comms support for Huawei, a competitor to Qualcomm in the 5G space. With the Qualcomm account lost and the Intel business housed within BCW Group subsidiary AxiCom, BCW Group could pursue the Huawei business, according to a source familiar with the matter.

In March, the chip maker also said it was reviewing its PR account in Turkey. The incumbent on the account in that country is Marjinal.

Qualcomm reported its Q3 revenue was up 73% year-over-year to $9.6 billion. It is one of the most visible pioneers in 5G, pouring resources into the next generation of cellular technology.

Historically, Allison+Partners has had a strong stable of b2b tech clients, including Bloom Energy and RELX Group. The agency recommitted itself to growing its corporate practice earlier this year when it promoted five-year vet Tom Smith to the role of president of the North America practice.

It also launched a new consultancy called Headstand, overseeing a mix of clients from b2b tech, consumer lifestyle and other sectors, such as SAP North America, Xiaomi, NerdWallet, Trov and SideChef.

According to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report, Allison+Partners grew revenue by 12% year over year in 2018, to $58.3 million.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on October 10 to clarify that Pivot Integrated Communications won the Huawei account. On October 11, information was added from the RFI.

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