BOSTON: Home security company SimpliSafe has hired MullenLowe PR as its North American AOR.
Company director of communications Amy Nagy said she is looking to the firm to grow SimpliSafe’s visibility as a brand.
“Traditionally, the brand and its products are really well respected by the tech press and we’ve been able to stand up to tech-press scrutiny,” she said. “But we haven’t been as successful in the lifestyle genre.”
The budget of the year-long contract is approximately $500,000, said Nagy. The company started the RFP in February, about a month after Nagy was hired. MullenLowe won the business two months later and the relationship began at the start of May, Nagy said.
SimpliSafe also invited 360PR+ and Porter Novelli to pitch. Nagy said 360 declined to participate, as did incumbent LaunchSquad. Representatives from LaunchSquad did not respond to requests seeking comment.
Mike Rush, partner and EVP at 360PR+, said the firm declined to pitch because of other reviews with competing deadlines and wished both SimpliSafe and MullenLowe well.
The company has not hired another firm to manage paid media, which it handles in-house.
Nagy praised the presentation from Porter’s Cone team, but said, “In the end, MullenLowePR blew it out of the water.”
“The nature of SimpliSafe products is we don’t have a new product rotation always going, and so we have to find ways to highlight our own news and talk about the brand,” she said. “[MullenLowe PR] are so good at doing that, at talking about the brand in absence of a new product launch or feature. I am someone who really respects creative. I think it’s the firepower that makes the good go to great, and MullenLowe PR is hard to compete with in creative.”
SimpliSafe has not assigned the firm any specific activations because of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“If you had asked me [about activations] in February, I would have had a wishlist of what I wanted to accomplish, said Nagy. “But 2020 has thrown us nothing but surprises. We’re having to work to new timelines and new ways of doing things. Even things like holding editor events to make sure they understand our brand used to be simple things to do and table stakes. Now the thought of renting out space and calling out people to come see the brand is questionable.”
VP and account director Lauren Brennan is leading a team of five staffers who are working on the account, according to a MullenLowe PR spokesperson.
Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman took a controlling interest in SimpliSafe in 2018 in a deal that valued the home security company at $1 billion, according to TechCrunch.
Separately, Cone beat Edelman for a smaller, six-month crisis communications project for SimpliSafe after an RFP was issued at the same time, Nagy said.
“Both shops demonstrated in-depth knowledge in crisis comms,” she said. “But ultimately, Cone showed us a clear process to get our team ready should the worst happen.”
A representative from Edelman could not be reached for comment.
“Porter Novelli is thrilled to embark on a new relationship with SimpliSafe, and are eager to share our capabilities and expertise as it relates to crisis communications,” said Marc Berliner, Porter Novelli’s SVP of reputation management.
Editor's note: This story was updated on June 10 with comment from Porter Novelli.