Cisco spent six months on the agency search, with WS landing a contract many agencies viewed as 2003’s most sought-after tech PR account.
The scope of the remit grew considerably after Cisco embarked on the agency search six months ago, for what was initially slated to be a US corporate agency of record (PRWeek, 6 June).
According to sources close to the pitch process, Hill & Knowlton was the other agency to make it to the final round of selection.
The contract scooped by WS covers corporate comms and business units, and also came to include tech PR and promoting News@Cisco, the company’s news site.
Cisco senior manager of corporate PR Penny Bruce said the firm had ‘evaluated a dozen global agencies’, adding that although Cisco had worked with several agencies over the years, including WS, it has not had an AOR in the US for some time.
The agency will commence work on the account at the start of 2004, and its Bay Area and East Coast offices will manage the account, according to Bruce, who declined to reveal which agencies participated in the search.
Jerry Swerling, a Los Angeles-based PR management consultant, advised Cisco during the agency search.
Earlier this year, Cisco launched a £115m global branding campaign that included PR, seeking to position Cisco as the leader in networking technologies.
In September, the tech giant hired Band & Brown Communications to co-ordinate its PR across EMEA, taking over from incumbent PR and marketing firm Banner (PRWeek, 5 September).