LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Ericsson has awarded its global advertising business to Lowe Worldwide after the agency won a final head-to-head pitch against Ogilvy Worldwide.
The Swedish telecom giant bills about $35 million in traditional media, but Lowe's task will include a focus on digital, social media and experiential marketing.
Ericsson's main business is building telecommunications infrastructure, a market that is becoming increasingly competitive as cut-price rivals from India and China muscle in. Until recently the technologically complicated territory has been dominated by only a few companies, including Cisco and Ericsson.
Helena Norman, VP-internal and marketing communications at Ericsson, said, "We don't exist in isolation with our customers. We have to move beyond our customers because our market is not designed only by us, it's developed by what consumers want and we have to deliver on that, even though they don't buy directly from us. We need to understand what's happening -- it's going to be a journey."
Lowe Brindfors in Stockholm will lead the account, supported by key offices around the world, including China, Brazil and India, where most of the current growth opportunities are found.
Lowe Chairman Tony Wright, who was personally involved in the pitch, said, "Ericsson is a great brand and is in a very different space to some of our other big multinational clients. This is a nice indication that our hub strategy is working -- Lowe Brindfors is one of our strongest offices and although Ericsson is a very international company, it has a very Swedish culture."
The task ahead
Ericsson needs to persuade analysts and journalists, as well as decision makers from the world of business, politics and legislation, that Ericsson's 3G and 4G offerings are the best, and it must escape the role of unsung hero to claim a place as a crucial business partner.
"There is a feeling the brand is too quiet given its scale and size," Mr. Wright said. "We need to convey the technological leadership of the brand and connect that to a broader story about innovation. Ericsson is a successful business but it's not as widely understood as it might be."
The pitch process lasted about 10-12 weeks from start to finish. Lowe beat other rivals for the business, including the incumbent, Publicis, and McCann Erickson.
Ms. Norman added, "It was a very difficult decision but Lowe has a very strong hub in Stockholm and their proposal had the creative edge. We like their interpretation of our brand and their online capability is inspiring -- it can take us to the next level."