AMSTERDAM — Philips is conducting a major review of its global communications support, putting Omnicom’s longstanding OneVoice PR remit under threat.

The wider review of the Dutch electronics company’s creative, media and communications accounts is believed to be worth a total of $300 million. Philips, which makes personal care, healthcare and household electronic products, has invited a number of major holding groups to participate in the overall review, which is being run by R3. 

The bulk of Philips’ communications work has been handled by Omnicom PR Group (OPRG) since 2009, when the group won the biggest global PR pitch of the year, believed to be worth well in excess of $10 million. OPRG landed the business by establishing a purpose-built unit called OneVoice, led by FleishmanHillard and Ketchum, and featuring sister financial and healthcare specialists.

The pitch is understood to be the first competitive review of the PR business since OneVoice was formed under the leadership of Karen van Bergen, who went on to become OPRG's first chief executive and is now dean of Omnicom University

After Philips spun off its €7 billion lighting division in 2016 – rebranded as Signify in 2018 – the new company conducted an agency review, with much of the PR work assigned to Ketchum, which had already worked with the division as part of the OneVoice alliance. 

The remainder of Philips, which focuses on its core healthcare technology business, is understood to be largely led by FleishmanHillard. In 2017, Philips shares were reclassified by the FTSE under the healthcare category rather than industrials. 

Philips’ global press office, CEO communications and industry analyst relations leader Steve Klink confirmed the review and that the firm had invited “a select group” of global holding companies to participate, as well as its current agency partners.

He told PRovoke: “We are grateful for the longstanding and successful collaboration with our creative, media and communications partners, WPP, Dentsu and Omnicom, respectively. Over the last few years Philips has transformed into a focused health technology company, and we have now embarked on our next growth phase. Philips is therefore taking the opportunity to review and refresh our creative, media, and communications agency relationships.

“We look forward to working with a strong integrated team that will enable Philips to reach our goal of improving the health and well-being of 2.5 billion people a year by 2030.”

Additional reporting by Arun Sudhaman