TOP EUROPEAN AGENCIES 1998: CENTRAL OFFICES - EMU has caused companies to start eyeing up European capitals, other than London, as a base Photograph (Omitted)

The centre of power in European PR may be shifting. While London’s lead role as a platform for European campaigns is acknowledged, a major concern this year is the UK’s self-exclusion from the 11 countries presently planning for monetary union. Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris are increasingly seen as attractive alternatives.

The centre of power in European PR may be shifting. While London’s

lead role as a platform for European campaigns is acknowledged, a major

concern this year is the UK’s self-exclusion from the 11 countries

presently planning for monetary union. Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris are

increasingly seen as attractive alternatives.



Hubert Wisse, managing director of Wisse Worldcom in the Netherlands,

which is part of the leading Worldcom network, says: ’There is a feeling

that the UK is an outcast and not one of the team. I think that there

will inevitably be more communications work being done out of Brussels,

especially when you consider that there are now around 350 pan-European

offices there.’



Sven Use, secretary general of Ecco, a network of independent agencies

based in Brussels adds: ’London is still important, but Brussels has

close contacts with the Commission which is increasing its information

campaigns and other agencies here are involved in lobbying. The euro

will make life easier for the 11 participating countries in their

pan-European campaigns. We have already done work where we have been

paid in ecus so we are already well prepared.’



However Peter Verhille, managing director of Brussels based, Entente

International Communications believes that rumours of London’s pending

fall have been much exaggerated. He says: ’While many companies are

choosing Brussels as a European co-ordinating centre, the UK’s major

asset is the City which remains Europe’s financial centre and I am sure

that the UK will eventually join EMU.’



IT, financial and healthcare continue to be the big growth network

sectors, but many new sectors are now developing on a pan-European

scale. Sven Use of Ecco says that the mergers involving many major

clients across Europe are beginning to be mirrored by agencies and their

networks. He highlights a recent agency merger in Belgium of Interel and

Ine Marien and sees a merger trend accelerating among European agencies

into next year.



Crispin Manners, chief executive of The Argyll Consultancies and head of

practice development worldwide for Worldcom, co-ordinates Worldcom’s

specialist divisions such as research, crisis management and financial

services. He says clients’ use of networks is becoming more

creative.



’With owned offices, countries which do not co-ordinate the client

themselves are often not so concerned about the business because they

may not see any fee income in their territory while networks have to

deliver value at every local level.’ He says that US companies, in

particular, are keen to build global, coherent programmes with common

messages and to take the lead in areas like Asia-Pacific and Europe.



IT, financial and healthcare were the first sectors to really take off

on a network scale and now, as an early entrant, the healthcare sector

is beginning to evaluate and change the way it operates.



Fiona Fenn Smith, administrator at Shire Hall International says:

’Europe is moving the way of US managed private healthcare. Most

government bodies are now considering following the US model and

allowing the advertising of medicines and services direct to the

consumer. As an independent healthcare specialist we are able to bring a

multi-local perspective to developments like these.’



On the hi-tech side, Mark Mellor, director of Firefly, which started its

Fireworks network two and half years ago, has been putting on agencies

in Central and Eastern Europe where there are new projects coming up

later this year. He also notes that there are a growing number of agency

mergers and acquisitions in these regions as they need to grow larger to

cope with network business.



Peter Verhille of Entente International has seen strong growth in

corporate PR. He says: ’This is an encouraging sign because corporate

work does not translate immediately to the bottom line like promoting

products and services so this indicates that clients have confidence.’

He has found that European clients are currently spending more on

campaigns than US companies although the latter remain committed to

Europe. The economic meltdown in the Far East has not affected that

region’s commitment to Europe so far, according to Verhille, with

countries like Japan continuing to take a long term view. He says that

pharmaceuticals and tourism have been proving particularly strong.



For Richard Price of Euro PR and Marketing, clients have come mainly

from the US IT industry but healthcare is accelerating on the back of

five new client wins. These include work for Pfizer’s global development

team on a pre-launch PR programme for a new migraine drug.



Nan Williams, managing director of Charles Barker BSMG, which operates

leading network, Charles Barker International Connections, reports a

high level of EU commission work. There have also been corporate

reputation programmes in Europe, public affairs in Brussels, IBM

activity in its banking and finance markets relating to EMU issues and

consumer campaigns through the network’s youth division.



- US companies are keen to build global, coherent programmes with common

messages and to take the lead in areas like Asia-Pacific and Europe



- The economic meltdown in the Far East has not affected that region’s

commitment to Europe so far, according to Verhille, with countries like

Japan continuing to take a long term view. He says that pharmaceuticals

and tourism have been proving particularly strong.



EURO CONSULTANCIES - NETWORKS

Rank Company                                 Fee income (pounds)       %

                                                                    Chng

97                                                 97           96

1    Worldcom                              42,427,515   27,840,783    52

2    Entente International Communications  29,322,500   24,832,700    18

3    Pinnacle                              25,675,000   13,592,944    89

4    Charles Barker Int Connections        23,033,793   21,784,736     6

5    Fireworks                             12,297,611    8,637,443    42

6    Brodeur Worldwide                     11,541,000   10,963,000     5

7    Ecco                                   8,645,000    7,056,000    23

8    Euro PR                                3,941,840    3,453,426    14

Rank Company                                 Staff  Clients   Location

97

1    Worldcom                                  467        -   London

2    Entente International Communications      351      403   Brussels

3    Pinnacle                                    -        -   Copenhagen

4    Charles Barker Int Connections            318      501   London

5    Fireworks                                 209      342   London

6    Brodeur Worldwide                         252      402   Berkshire

7    Ecco                                      316      135   Brussels

8    Euro PR                                    51      107   London



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