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LG PR Shakeup Sees Mobile Brief Revert To Burson-Marsteller

Asia Pacific, EMEA, Global, North America

Arun Sudhaman 14 May 2013

SEOUL--12 months after assigning global consumer PR duties to Porter Novelli, LG Mobile has returned the assignment to previous incumbent Burson-Marsteller.

The move follows a competitive review in Seoul last month, and comes as LG Electronics reviews its global relationship with WPP's LG-One unit.

LG Electronics global communications head Ken Hong confirmed the development, noting that it was a separate decision made by the mobile subsidiary, covering strategy and planning for the mobile brand's worldwide product communications.

Burson-Marsteller relenquished its hold on the mobile mandate last year. The firm will work with subsidiary agencies PPR in Europe and North of Nine in the US to service the account.

A Porter Novelli spokesperson said that the agency currently works on LG Mobile in Korea, but declined to comment on future arrangements. Porter Novelli's Korean presence is operated by affiliate KorCom Porter Novelli.

A source familiar with the situation noted that the PR shakeup at LG reflected the level of internal change at the company, which has battled to return to profit after full-year losses in 2011.

The company's mobile unit has struggled since 2010, but last year overtook HTC as the world's number three smartphone maker, some distance behind Samsung and Apple. LG Mobile's current market share is 3.6 percent, which it hopes to boost by launching cheaper smartphones in emerging markets.

The first quarter of 2013 saw LG ship a record number of smartphones, although it is expected to face stiffer competition as rivals launch new models during the remainder of the year.

The LG Electronics pitch, meanwhile, is understood to feature a number of holding companies, fielding multi-agency teams.The assignment covers corporate and product communications for the company's global programme and key geographic markets.

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