Ketchum Big In Japan with Hakuhodo Partnership

[Hakuhodo CEO Junji Narita flanked by Ketchum’s Jon Higgins (left) and Ray Kotcher (right)]

Ketchum, a division of Omnicom (NYSE: OMC), partnered up with the large Japanese agency Hakuhodo according to a press release today. The pairing is designed to give Ketchum PR services in the tight Japanese market, while giving Hakuhodo a bigger footprint in other countries.

Senior Partner Jon Higgins is spearheading the effort to introduce Hakuhodo to Ketchum’s clients as well as to Ketchum’s Greater China operations headed by Kenneth Chu, and to the firms Australia and Singapore affiliate ICON International Communications.

We hear that both firms are pretty happy to pair up and that despite 17 offices outside of Japan, Hakuhodo is getting a much wider reach in to other countries.

Coincidently today, PRWeek sat in on Omnicom’s earnings call and reported that the PR divisions–including Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Brodeur, Fleishman etc–are down 10.3% for Q4 2008 over 2007. The analyst quoted in the story Peter Stabler from Credit Suisse, points to the rock and hard place big shops are in between frugal clients looking for price cuts, and losing accounts altogether.