WATERLOO, ONTARIO--BlackBerry is to consolidate its $10m global PR account with a joint agency team comprised of APCO and Text 100, as the Canadian handset company bids to revive its brand.
The move follows a keenly-contested agency review revealed earlier this year by the Holmes Report.
BlackBerry has previously worked with approximately 30 agency partners worldwide, including Brodeur in North America, Lewis PR in Asia-Pacific, IMS in Latin America, Good Relations and Frank PR in the UK, Hill + Knowlton Strategies in EMEA and Edelman.
BlackBerry SVP Heidi Davidson confirmed the decision, noting that the bulk of the global business will now shift to the APCO/Text 100 team.
"BlackBerry made the decision to embark on an initiative to evaluate its public relations agency partner support model around the world," said Davidson. "Our goals were to ensure we are partnering with the most creative and proactive public relations agency partners and to consolidate the number of agency partners globally."
"We have completed this very comprehensive and disciplined evaluation, and are now in a position to announce that BlackBerry has decided to consolidate the majority of our global public relations services with one team drawn from APCO Worldwide and Text100."
It is understood that APCO will oversee corporate communications, with Text 100 leading technology PR. In a highly unusual move, the two agencies decided to pitch for the business together.
A handful of countries, including Poland, France, the Netherlands and Phillippines, will remain with Hill + Knowlton Strategies, one of the main contenders in the agency review.
“Over the past few months, we have met BlackBerry representatives from around the globe and have been inspired by their vision and passion for the company and the opportunities ahead," said APCO founder and CEO Margery Kraus. "Our team is already rolling up our sleeves to help them achieve their goals.”
Social media and digital, meanwhile, which was previously handled by Edelman, is thought to have been consolidated with Omnicom Group.
After a period of decline, Blackberry launched two handsets this year that it hopes will claw back sales from better-performing rivals such as Apple and Samsung. The keyboard-based Q10 launched last week, while the touchscreen-only Z10 rolled out earlier this year.
“BlackBerry has so many exciting opportunities ahead of them,” added Aedhmar Hynes, CEO of Text100. “By selecting APCO and Text 100 as their global agency of record, we are thrilled that BlackBerry has expressed its vote of confidence in the combined strengths of our teams to help them achieve their vision.”