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Samsung Launches Public Relations Agency Review

Korean Electronics Giant Aims to Build Unified Brand Across Phones, Tablets and TVs

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Samsung is conducting a PR agency review to promote its consumer electronics business globally, according to multiple execs familiar with the matter.

The move is intended to build a united brand for the group at the corporate level and across regions, the execs said. Samsung's consumer electronics department encompasses smartphones, TV, tablets, cameras and laptops.

The Korean company's representatives in the U.S. didn't respond to a request for comment by press time.

The review follows other recent agency moves by Samsung. Early this year, the electronics giant hired Omnicom's Fleishman-Hillard to support its global mobile business. And late last year, the electronics giant named Publicis Groupe's Razorfish its digital agency of record and hired a WPP team to support B-to-B initiatives.

On the PR front, the marketer works with a number of shops in addition to Fleishman-Hillard, including Edelman, MWW, MDC's Allison & Partners and Interpublic Group's Weber Shandwick.

Additional agencies include IPG's Huge and Publicis' Digitas, Starcom and Leo Burnett.

Samsung was a top global spender in 2012. According to an Ad Age DataCenter global marketer report that will be released on June 24, the electronics giant reported worldwide advertising expenses of $4.350 billion in 2012. That's almost double its global ad expenses of $2.714 billion in 2011.

The company also breaks out its public relations expenses in its year-end financial release. In 2012, it reported $558.8 million for global PR expenses. According to the Ad Age DataCenter, the company reported worldwide PR expenses of $476.1 million in 2011.

Samsung's mobile electronics business has emerged as the only serious contender to Apple in the U.S. smartphone market in terms of both perception and sales. The brand's share of sales increased from 21% in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 30% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Apple's increased from 39% to 41% over the same time.

On a global basis, Samsung is by far the largest maker of smartphones, shipping 384.6 million across the globe last year compared to 130.1 million iPhones, according to eMarketer. Samsung had nearly 22% of the global smartphone market in 2012 compared to 7.5% for Apple.

Contributing: John McDermott

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