Sega Europe, the computer games maker, has dropped Freud Communications
from its pounds 100,000 plus consumer PR account, just days before the
Christmas shopping rush.
The agency was informed of Sega’s wish to terminate the contract last
Friday and is now working out its notice period until the end of the
month. The contract would normally be reviewed only at the end of the
company’s financial year in February.
UK marketing director Noel Dardis declined to comment on why Sega had
ended the relationship early, but revealed that the decision had been
taken by Sega Europe’s chief executive Malcolm Miller.
He refuted suggestions that the decision comes at an awkward time for
the company. ‘The bulk of the work for the Christmas season has already
been done,’ said Dardis. ‘We just need to make sure we have got
something up and running quickly.
‘We will probably sell out of most products pre-Christmas. There are two
product launches next year which could suffer, but we should have
something sorted out before then.’ He added that Sega was talking to
four agencies about taking over the account, and in the meantime Freud
was continuing to co-operate on existing projects.
Appointed in April when Sega shifted its account from Lynne Franks (PR
Week, 28 April), Freud has handled PR for the company’s range of home
video games, including Megadrive, the Pico interactive early learning
aid and its CD-based Saturn console.
It is thought to be unlikely that Sega Europe’s decision will affect
Freud’s work for Segaworld, the planned pounds 45 million theme park.
Sega is facing heavy competition this Christmas from market rivals such
as Nintendo and Sony Playstation.
Nintendo now handles public relations in-house after it ended its
relationship with Deighton and Odell in September this year. Launched
two months ago, Sony Playstation retains MacLaurin Communication and