Sony Ericsson pitch risks client conflict

Consumer electronics giant Sony Ericsson has shortlisted three agencies for a ­consolidated global brief, but whichever agency wins could face conflicts with current accounts.

Sony Ericsson: global account
Sony Ericsson: global account

Edelman, Weber Shandwick and Hill & Knowlton have been lined up to pitch for the work with London-based Sony Ericsson. But Edelman currently works with rival Motorola while WS is used by Microsoft. H&K counts LG as a client.

PRWeek understands that the Sony Ericsson work would be worth at least as much as any of the rival accounts.

No one at WS or H&K was available to comment. Edelman CEO Robert Phillips said the agency had ‘not yet been invited to a formal pitch’.

Meanwhile, incumbent agency, Band & Brown-owned Brando, claimed the pitch does not put its 18-month relationship with Sony Ericsson ­under threat.

‘Brando has been working with Sony Ericsson Global since 2005 and will continue to work with it on on-going international consumer projects,’ said Brando partner Shelley Morrell in a statement. ‘Brando’s retained accounts with Sony Ericsson’s UK and Central, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and its Western Europe marketing units remain unaffected by this pitch.’

The pitch process is being handled by Sony Ericsson head of global corporate comms Aldo Liguori, who recently overhauled the company’s PR arrangements for its £66m global sponsorship of women’s tennis.

Four Communications had held the account but it was reviewed at the end of the agency’s contract and handed to Pitch PR (PRWeek, 5 July).

Sony Ericsson was established in 2001 as a joint venture by Japanese consumer electronics company Sony, and the Swedish telecommunications firm Ericsson to make mobile phones.

It sits with a number of companies vying for second place in the mobile handset sector behind Nokia, which claims more than 35 per cent of the market.

This week, Sony Ericsson confirmed that it had snapped up rival LG’s former marketing director John Bernard as global marketing director.

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