WS beats Edelman to grab Unilever job

Unilever Bestfoods has appointed Weber Shandwick to its global corporate and consumer PR account as it embarks on a fresh growth strategy. WS prevailed in the two-way shootout against Edelman.

The appointment by the Anglo-Dutch food giant comes as it faces tough challenges over the success of the Atkins Diet and ongoing public concern over obesity.

In its full-year results yesterday (Thursday), Unilever chairman Niall FitzGerald was due to outline the group’s strategy beyond this year. It is approaching the end of its five-year ‘Path to Growth’ plan, which has seen it axe hundreds of lesser-known brands to focus on its 40 biggest sellers.

‘We’ve agreed to work with WS for an initial period to get input into development of our food communications strategy,’ said a Unilever spokesman.

WS’s win sees UK chief exec Colin Byrne fend off former joint chief David Brain, now Edelman Europe president. WS’s recently hired European director of consumer Bert Moore is understood to have played a major role in the pitch, in which Burson-Marsteller was involved at an earlier stage (PRWeek, 23 January).

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