JOHANNESBURG: South Africa has called in new PR counsel as it bids to sustain the global reputation uplift it experienced from last year’s successful staging of the Fifa World Cup.

The Holmes Report understands that Hill & Knowlton has been appointed by the country’s International Marketing Council (IMC), to oversee the global ‘Brand South Africa’ programme. The agency displaces incumbent MSLGroup Johannesburg, which won the £1 million account less than two years ago.

According to sources, some of the key markets forming the core of the assignment include the US, UK, Russia and Africa, although it is understood that broader global support is also required.

“It’s a mix of investment, tourism and nation branding,” said one source.

The IMC is also currently tendering for an agency to handle its global media monitoring, including social media reputation analysis

The IMC was established in 2002 to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa. The country has struggled to shake off a reputation for lawlessness – with media stories rising to a crescendo in the run-up to last years Fifa World Cup.

However, the successful staging of the event is expected to boost efforts to attract investment and tourism to the country. A research study found that the country’s international reputation rose after the World Cup.

The account is required by law to tender every two years, and is understood to have attracted pitches from several international agencies. Hill & Knowlton will work alongside its affiliate Meropa Communications, which is already the IMC’s existing domestic agency.

IMC representatives did not respond to request for comment as this story went live, while Hill & Knowlton declined to comment.