Sega Europe to pitch for a press and promotion blitz

Video games giant Sega Europe is planning to stage a series of PR pitches for press office and games promotion work.

The company - which has repositioned itself as a software publisher, having quit the hardware market two years ago following disappointing sales of its Dreamcast console - last month drafted in Asam Ahmad as PR head to spearhead a PR blitz.

Sega Europe retains Bell Pottinger Consultants to handle corporate and business media enquiries, an account Ahmad confirmed he was reviewing.

Ahmad, who joined from games publisher THQ International, said the immediate priority was to hire press office support to handle mainly non-specialist media including consumer, lifestyle, national, broadcast and 'vertical' press work, with a pitch likely to take place in June.

In addition, Ahmad plans to put PR work for individual games up for grabs as and when necessary.

He added that there was scope for a third agency on the corporate side - handling work similar to that currently undertaken by Bell Pottinger - 'when we start to rebuild the Sega brand early next year'.

Ahmad, who reports to European marketing director Matthew Woodley, is this week starting a recruitment search for a further in-house PRO, saying he plans to 'gradually' augment his in-house PR team.

Bell Pottinger has been retained since 1999 (PRWeek, 2 April 1999), when it was hired ahead of Dreamcast's launch, but Ahmad said that in recent months it has mainly handled reactive corporate PR work.

He said that agencies pitching might be advantaged if they had a presence in mainland Europe, as some of the PR may have a continental element.

The first games Sega Europe is to publish are Phantasy Star Online for Xbox next month; Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut for GameCube and Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution for PlayStation 2 are to follow in June. Further releases are scheduled for later in the year.

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