3 Monkeys Communications has been handed a B2B and consumer brief for the UK. It will also co-ordinate Skype's other agencies worldwide. The London agency will support Skype's press office, with account director Tristan Pineiro overseeing a team of six.
Skype, owned by eBay, enables users to make free or very cheap calls over the internet, transfer files, send instant messages and stage video conference calls.
Pineiro said that while many web-savvy consumers had heard of Skype and VoIP, there was still some confusion about how the software works. 'There really needs to be a re-education, taking it back to basics,' said Pineiro. 'Skype has a brilliant name and brand presence, but we need to show people how it works. There's a danger in missing the boat - people don't use it, because it sounds too good to be true. Free calls anywhere around the world? People don't trust that and think there must be a catch.'
Pineiro added that while some users may have been put off by the earliest incarnation of the tool in 2003, the latest version of Skype boasted a clear sound superior to normal mobile or landline phones. 'A lot of the teething problems have been overcome,' he said. 'People think it might be too difficult in terms of technology, with lots of software to download. It's not, and the quality is great.'
3 Monkeys worked on a project with Skype last year as part of its work with mobile giant 3. After helping to launch the 3 Skypephone, the agency was invited to pitch for a larger chunk of the business. Incumbent agency Six Degrees will remain on board for project work. Both report to Skype head of global PR Imogen Bailey.
3 Monkeys recently launched sister agency Challenger Brand PR, in its Oxford office, to deal with conflict clients (PRWeek, 30 April).