LONDON—Vodafone has awarded its six-figure UK corporate and brand communications mandate to Burson-Marsteller, following a pitch that also included Cohn & Wolfe and Ogilvy PR.

The Holmes Report revealed last week that the three WPP firms were contending for the assignment, after incumbent agency Freud chose not to defend its remit.

Burson, which is now finalising contract negotiations after being assigned 'preferred bidder' status by Vodafone, takes charge of an integrated brief that covers corporate and consumer PR.

The agency will report to Paddy Toyne-Sewell, who joined Vodafone UK as head of external communications earlier this year. Burson UK technology chair Ben Maynard will lead the account, supported by George Godsal, the agency's new UK chair of corporate and brand. 

Burson's hire does not affect Vodafone's other agency relationships. The company works with Ideas Network on product PR in the UK while Tavistock provides corporate support. Maitland handles financial comms at a group level. Globally, Vodafone works with Text 100 and Ogilvy on B2B and consumer, respectively, out of London.

The review itself followed an overhaul of Vodafone's UK comms management. Corporate communications director Christian Cull exited the company at the start of this year, with Helen Lamprell expanding her responsibilities as corporate and external affairs director.

"The Burson-Marsteller team impressed us with their quality of thinking and analysis around our corporate objectives and their creativity in coming up with campaigns which not only meet our strategic needs, but are in tune with our brand's tone of voice and aspirations," said Toyne-Sewell.

Vodafone is the UK's third largest mobile network in terms of subscribers, behind EE and O2. The company's mobile service revenue in the country ties for second with O2, and is set to be boosted by a $1.7bn cash injection.

"Vodafone is a prestigious British brand in a fast moving and highly competitive space," added Maynard. "The pace of change and the variety of challenges and opportunities emerging in the mobile communications space makes this a fascinating time to be representing them."