Tyson Foods has selected Fleishman-Hillard as its agency of record for crisis communications and corporate reputation following a search, Ad Age has learned.
The Omnicom Group-owned agency declined to comment, and a company spokesman did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
It's not common for a company to retain a crisis-PR firm for help on an ongoing basis, rather than to handle a specific issue.
Earlier this year, a spokesman told Ad Age the company's growth spurred the need for such a relationship. "Because of the global growth of our company, we recently invited certain agencies to submit proposals for providing corporate-PR support," he said, adding that the review was not tied to any single issue.
At the same time, any maker of prepared foods these days, particularly meat products, would be wise to consider a similar move. And it's hard to imagine that the latest "pink slime" crisis, born from the unfortunate name of the meat additive, didn't somehow play a role in Tyson's decision to retain a shop for crisis.
Arkansas-based Tyson was one of a few large brands implicated in the crisis, which, Tyson's chief operating officer had said during an investor conference, put pressure on beef demand. At the time, the company had forecast a 2% to 3% reduction in the beef supply, and said that the reduction "could result in higher consumer prices."
The company generated $32.3 billion in sales in 2011. It is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, as well as prepared foods.
Meat companies of this size also face an ongoing challenge with the potential for livestock disease, such as mad-cow disease. E. coli is also constantly threatening the industry. For example, Tyson recalled more than 100,000 pounds of ground beef last fall due to an E. coli scare.
Interpublic Group of Cos' GolinHarris handles the company's consumer-PR efforts. The company also works with Arkansas-based Mitchell Communications Group.