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Tech PR Shake-Up

In November last year, NEC Home Electronics Australia announced that it was ending its short-term association with Pearl PR, in favour of bringing PR in-house until a suitable replacement company was found.

While NEC marketing manager, Michelle Hancox, told SmartHouse News at the time that Pearl PR was not suited for the role – as Pearl PR’s experience in consumer technology was limited to a few IT businesses – Pearl PR director, Hollie Young, vowed that Pearl PR had indeed terminated its relationship with NEC in favour of another, larger account.

While Pearl PR is yet to announce its replacement account, which Young said was more suited to its vendor line-up which currently includes Microsoft training company, Readify, along with computer-maker, Asus, NEC’s move away from Pearl PR could suggest that the niche PR company wasn’t qualified to do justice to NEC’s home electronics group’s growing product portfolio, which includes home theatre projectors, flatscreen TVs and DVD recorders.

According to NEC marketing manager, Don Patton, NEC will continue to run its PR in-house until the end of the company’s financial year – on 31 March – at which time NEC will endeavour to recruit a larger PR company that specialises in home entertainment and home office equipment.

“We are working on a number of major projects at the moment which are taking precedence over the search for a new PR company, however we will begin looking more closely for a new representative in a month or so,” Patton told SmartHouse News.

“We are in a number of initial discussions with companies at the moment but in the end the process will probably be a mixture of us approaching likely candidates and other PR companies approaching us with pitches.”

Taiwan-based High Tech Computer Corp (HTC) also announced last December that it was replacing its PR agent, Max Australia, with growing company Upstream Australia, as the latter was a better fit with HTC’s “innovative and dynamic” ideology.

“Upstream has long-running experience in IT&T. We see HTC fitting in with this marketplace, and therefore Upstream fits in with us,” HTC marketing manager, Natasha Wright, told SmartHouse News.

Upstream won the HTC clientele after a pitch to the company late last year, adding HTC to its brand portfolio which is streamlined toward the business market, and includes clients such as Linksys, SanDisk, Skype and online security company, Bluecoat.

HTC dumped Max Australia shortly after HTC’s entrance into the Australian smartphone market, which was handled by Max Australia at an industry function in Sydney in October.

Max Australia’s product portfolio includes Maxtor, Brightmail and Tibco, among other specialist IT and storage companies.

According to Wright, Upstream Australia is more suited to represent HTC’s growing portfolio of smartphones which are pitched at both the consumer and business ends of the market.

Upstream Australia managing director, Grahame Cox, told SmartHouse News that is is extremely pleased with its HTC account “win”.

“HTC is a great addition to our consumer technology practice, which already services clients such as Skype, SanDisk and Linksys,” he said.

“We have solid experience in the smartphone space, having serviced clients like O2, and look forward to working with HTC to help cement their position as a true industry innovator.

“The company has extremely strong R&D capabilities, is responsible for many industry firsts, and is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile sector.”

Upstream this morning announced that HTC has won an alliance with Telstra, releasing its first Next G smartphone, the Touch Dual 850.