Unilever nears end of PR roster review

Unilever is believed to be putting the finishing touches to its lucrative global PR roster, following an eight-month review process.

Persil: Unilever cleaning brand
Persil: Unilever cleaning brand

Global PR spend is estima­ted at $35m, but the roster is not expected to ­affect exist-ing agency rel­ationships. ‘You’ll get the right to bid for new work,’ said a source. ‘But inc­umbents are not auto­matically fired.’

Edelman is one consulta­ncy that has not made the cut, despite being one of Unilever’s key global agencies.

Instead, Unilever is understood to be in final talks with four agencies: Ogilvy PR, Fleishman-Hillard, Golin­Harris and Salt London.

However, sources involved in the review told PRWeek that Unilever’s procurement dep­artment had yet to formalise the appointments.

Unilever’s brands include Dove, Lipton, Magnum, Persil and Vaseline.

Unilever began its search for roster agencies last May, when global media relations director Trevor Gorin said the firm was aiming to formalise its approach to PR agency use (PRWeek, 15 May 2008).

At present, Unilever’s PR business is fragmented among several agencies. Ogilvy PR handles the Dove brand, along with business in Asia-Pacific and the US. GolinHarris oversees Magnum globally, while Salt London has handled global programmes for Sunsilk, Lifebuoy, Omo and Lipton.

Representatives from all these agencies declined to comment. Unilever global brand PR director Marjolein van Kampen also declined to comment until the process is completed.

Unilever’s decision to centralise its global PR operations follows similar exercises across its marketing department. ‘It wants to ensure consistency of pricing, work and quality of ideas,’ said a source.

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