SLOUGH, UK--BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is reviewing its public affairs mandate in the UK and has parted ways with incumbent firm Open Road.
Open Road won the business three years ago but declined to repitch, according to agency director Martin Le Jeune. “We want to look at opportunities elsewhere in the tech sector and RIM wanted to test the market; the parting is amicable.”
While Open Road handled a UK-specific brief, it is understood that the current review also involves issues in Brussels and other European markets. “They are worried about regulation and interference,” said one source involved in the process, citing the pressure the company has faced in India and the Middle East to grant access to its encrypted data.
Reports earlier this year suggested RIM had struck a deal allowing the Indian government to access BlackBerry consumer communications, causing speculation that other governments will follow suit and seek the same level of surveillance.
The company is also grappling with well-documented business issues. Demand for the BlackBerry has been outstripped by rivals such as Apple and Samsung, and RIM appointed a new CEO in January following the resignations of longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.
One of RIM’s key BlackBerry customer segments is governments, although it is unclear if the current brief includes a government marketing component. Representatives from RIM did not respond to request for comment.
In the UK, RIM’s B2B PR business is handled by Good Relations, while Frank PR oversees consumer. Edelman subsidiary A&R is charged with social media support.