Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: LG Australia is parting company with its local public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, and moving to Pulse Communication, part of the global Ogilvy public relations firm. This transition will not be concluded until February 2010.

This change of PR representation was disclosed exclusively to Current.com.au this afternoon, after confidential sources within the Korean supplier leaked news of the change. After consulting with LG’s regional office in Singapore, LG Australia released a statement to Current.com.au from an unnamed source.

"A global pitch for the LG PR business was held last year, which was won by a consortium called LG One," said the spokesperson. "While LG Australia had no performance reason to part with Burson-Marsteller Australia, a decision has now been made to align with LG One locally. LG One locally is Ogilvy Pulse and they will commence work for LG Australia in February 2010."

In addition to the new LG Australia account, Ogilvy Pulse also handles the local PR for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Hitachi’s projector division. A sister PR company within Ogilvy is Howarth. This arm of the business has Microsoft as its major technology client. Howarth recently lost the Toshiba account after an extensive relationship. There is no evidence to suggest the cessation of the Toshiba account had anything to do with the acquisition of the LG Australia account.

When contact for comment today, Pulse Communication said it could neither confirm nor deny it had won the LG Australia account.

LG Australia’s relationship with Burson-Marsteller has been one of the most talked about Company-PR partnerships in the Australian technology industry. BM, as it is known, orchestrated a number of large scale launches for LG, including the Scarlet TV series, the LG Secret phone and a sponsorship of Gordon Ramsay’s visit to the Good Food and Wine Show.
In addition to changing its PR company, LG Australia is currently undertaking a major shift in brand strategy. Rather than focus on large volumes of consumer technology and appliances, LG is focusing on a ‘premium brand’ message. In a recent co-branding excercise, LG gave away 36 BMW motor vehicles.
Ultimately, 2009 has been a mixed year for LG in the Australian media environment. Burson-Marsteller battled manfully against the torrent of bad press stemming from LG’s sponsorship of the Cronulla Sharks rugby league team. That sponsorship deal has been wound up, but the challenges will persist in 2010, but with Pulse Communication as the first contact for interested parties.