NYC's Weber Shandwick to Handle Egypt's Cotton Promotions

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NEW YORK ( -- The New York public relations firm Weber Shandwick Worldwide has been hired by the Egyptian Ministry for Foreign Trade for a global advertising, PR and trade mission assignment promoting Egyptian cotton, according to the company.

Uncommon win
The win -- which is estimated to include $3 million to $5 million worth of work -- is unusual for two reasons: It is the first time the ministry has used an outside agency to promote its Egyptian Cotton brand and it is uncommon for PR agencies to win global creative advertising duties.

The account was won following a non-competitive pitch spearheaded by the firm's Cairo partner, Promoseven Weber Shandwick.

Weber Shandwick, which is part of Interpublic Group of Cos., is using offices in Washington D.C., Chicago, London, Paris, Bonn and Milan on the Egyptian Cotton account.

Weber Shandwick's chairman, Jack Leslie, currently visiting Kosovo on a trade mission with the Council on Foreign Relations, said: "I spoke with the government about how the product can help define the country."

Rebuilding relationships
Weber Shandwick, which has 13 offices in the Middle East, has been advising numerous clients on war-related issues such as product boycotts. Mr. Leslie predicts that as the Iraq conflict draws nearer to a phase of reconstruction, there will be a burst of activity as U.S. and Arab companies look to rebuild relationships.

"There is clearly a strongly felt drive to get things back on track. The question is, Have we created a bigger problem," he said.

Speaking from Cairo, Maha Abouelenein, managing director of the Promoseven office, said: "Egypt is spending a lot of time saying it is not part of the war, or part of the Gulf. Companies are trying to keep their momentum. The Egyptian Cotton project started a year and a half ago. ... We'll be launching a new logo and identity."

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