Motorola puts US PR contract up for pitch

CHICAGO: Motorola is reviewing its PR across the US, with some of the world’s largest agencies set to pitch to the mobile-phone handset giant within a fortnight.

Monica Rohleder, Motorola head of PR for North America, confirmed that a review was under way, saying ‘we will be looking at several agencies that range from smaller, boutique shops to larger agencies’.

Weber Shandwick, Burson-Marsteller, Fleishman-Hillard and Ruder Finn are four of the larger agencies that sources close to the company understand have been invited to pitch.

Incumbent agency Hill & Knowlton is also believed to be in the running for the contract, which is thought to be worth more than £500,000.

Rohleder would only say that the review was taking place as ‘it is good to review our business partners every few years’.

PRWeek understands that Motorola wants to hire one agency for a contract that will span corporate, B2B and consumer PR.

On the consumer side, it is understood that the hired agency will promote the Motorola brand to a 20- to 39-year-old target audience, in addition to handling various programmes targeting ethnic minorities.

The review follows the arrival of Ed Zander, who started work at Motorola’s headquarters outside Chicago as global CEO and chairman last week.

The former Sun Microsystems president replaced Chris Galvin, who resigned in September after disagreeing with the board of directors over the pace of the company’s restructuring.

In addition to making mobile handsets, an arena in which it lags global market leader Nokia, Motorola also makes products such as networking equipment and cable modems. The firm recently revealed plans to spin off its semi-conductor unit.

The hired agency will handle corporate PR, such as work to raise the profile of company executives, as well as analyst relations.

H&K has represented Motorola in the US for three-and-a-half years (PRWeek, 16 June 2000).

The US review, which is expected to culminate in an agency hire within a month, follows a review in the UK that took place towards the end of last year.

That review culminated in a two-way shoot-out between Firefly Communications and Edelman, with the former securing the contract, which is understood to be worth around £300,000 per year (PRWeek, 9 January).

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