Harvard grabs Adobe account

Adobe Systems has brought in Harvard PR for a wide-ranging brief that will cover all aspects of its communications.

Adobe: chose Harvard after pitches
Adobe: chose Harvard after pitches

The software company has contracted Harvard on a retained basis after three years with Firefly Comm­u­nications.

In what is believed to be one of the most lucrative tech accounts to switch hands this year, Harvard will now take on responsibility for corporate, consumer, trade and strategic support for product laun­ches. It is tasked with shaping and defining a new strategy for Adobe and looking at different ways of engaging with its audience.

Industry sources said the account is worth in excess of £200,000.

Harvard director Ben Maynard and MD Chris Cartwright will help to lead the acc­ount.

The two-stage pitch process consisted of an initial pitch with seven agencies going for the acc­ount. It was then whittled down to a shortlist of three – Harvard,  The Red Consultancy and incumbent agency Firefly (PRWeek, 23 March).

Adobe’s senior PR ­manager Nick Peart said: ‘Adobe has changed substantially as an organisation in the past four years. Firefly has been instrumental in successfully communicating that change. But now we have a different brief, a different internal team and a different ­approach.

‘We have chosen this juncture – which falls at our standard review point – to move agencies.

Harvard had pitched well, and they provided a strong senior team and outlined a sensible approach for the next phase of Adobe’s communications.’

Adobe has also hired the Launch Group to run its experiential projects, after the agency came up with the idea during the pitch pro­cess. It is the first time that Adobe has hired an agency for such work.

The Launch Group will work on experiential pro­jects coinciding with ­Adobe’s 25th birthday this year, with the account headed up by director of experiential Martin Ballantine.

The specific brief will be decided in the next couple of weeks.

Peart said: ‘It was the Launch Group’s ideas, so it’s only fair that we hire the agency to implement them.’

Adobe has strengthened its internal team, with the app­ointment of Emma Wil­kinson as PR manager. Wilkinson formerly worked for Octopus PR.

Adobe acquired its main rival Macromedia – the US graphics and web development software house – in ­December 2005.

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