BlackBerry Unwinds Global AOR With New Multi-Market PR Review
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BlackBerry Unwinds Global AOR With New Multi-Market PR Review

APCO/Text 100 alliance declines to defend local markets under review, less than two years after being appointed.

Arun Sudhaman

BlackBerry Unwinds Global AOR With New Multi-Market PR Review

WATERLOO, ONTARIO—Smartphone maker BlackBerry is reviewing PR duties for numerous key markets, less than two years after consolidating the $10m global assignment with APCO/Text 100.

The Holmes Report can reveal that the company is pitching country-specific briefs across all regions, as part of a shift to a local market agency model.

The APCO/Text 100 alliance, which came into place specifically for this account, will not defend any of the markets under review. However, the agencies will continue working on those countries which are not being pitched, which includes APCO's remit in the Middle East and Germany, and Text 100's in Malaysia and India.

Markets that are being pitched add up to a considerable proportion of BlackBerry's overall PR spend. They include the US; the UK, France and Italy in Europe; Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela in Latin America; and, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia-Pacific.

It is understood that agencies were sent the RFI yesterday, after being notified of the review last week.

The pitches come amid BlackBerry's efforts to revive its brand, which have been underway since APCO/Text 100 were appointed in early 2013. After seeing market share and revenues decline precipitously in the face of competition from Apple and Google, BlackBerry has stabilized this year under new CEO John Chen, with its BlackBerry 10 products helping to attract investors and business customers.

At the start of this year, the company also hired Mark Wilson from Avaya to oversee marketing, and has since shifted its advertising account out of BBDO to Gyro.

"As part of the continuing evolution of our business we have made the decision to move away from our current AOR model and give our communications teams the opportunity to work with local agencies," said BlackBerry SVP Heidi Davidson.

"APCO/Text100 will continue to serve us in several markets around the globe. We have issued an RFP in others with the goal of having firms on board by the beginning of our new fiscal year in March of 2015," she added.

"The global AOR model was the right approach during our business transition.  APCO/Text100 played and will continue to play an important role in our continuing comeback."

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