Publicis Communications’ PR agency MSL Group has won the Samsung Gulf Electronics account from Omnicom Group’s FleishmanHillard following a competitive pitch.
Its remit will include media relations and working with technology influencers.
The win strengthens the relationship between MSL Group and Samsung Electronics. The agency has represented Samsung’s Middle East and North Africa corporate/headquarters account since winning it in a pitch in 2015.
The new account will mean that MSL Group will work with Samsung business units including mobile devices, digital appliances, television and corporate citizenship.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Samsung Electronics for its Gulf account,” said Ajit Ramaswami, regional managing director of MSL Group, in a statement. “MSL Group Middle East looks forward to expanding the relationship with Samsung Electronics. We view the technology giant as a real partner, one with whom we share an aligned vision in terms of innovation and anticipating the needs of the market beyond tomorrow.”
Lucy O’Brien, general manager and partner of FleishmanHillard, said: “Of course we were disappointed with Samsung’s decision to go in a different direction, after the successful and strong relationship we have had with them over the past three years in the Gulf region. Pitching as the incumbent is never easy, but it was a highly professional and stimulating pitch process. We are very positive about what lies ahead for our growing team of 25 plus in the Middle East region, with fresh clients coming on board and the new opportunities that lie ahead.”
Mohammad Baayoun, head of communications and public affairs at Samsung Gulf Electronics, said: “The [MSL Group] team showed innovation and creativity that is synonymous with the Samsung brand. We were impressed with the synergy displayed by the MSL Group ME team and look forward to working with them.”
Samsung has previously worked with MSL Group sister company Leo Burnett, including on its Safety Screen app that used facial recognition to warn children when they were holding mobile devices too close to their eyes.
Samsung faced a global PR challenge last year, when it had to recall 2.5 million of its Galaxy Note 7 devices after several of the phones’ batteries exploded. Replacement phones also caught fire, leading to a full recall and withdrawal of the Note 7 from the market.
This article was updated on January 23, 2017, to include a response from FleishmanHillard.