PR News in Brief

This week’s PR news in brief (9-13 April)

Here’s a round-up of the week’s essential PR news, featuring Rugby editor-in-chief Alex Mead, PR thought leadership from Gumtree and the “Hacks vs Flaks” match report.

Thought leadership

Xanthe Vaughan Williams, director and co-founder at Fourth Day PR, discusses the findings of the agency’s second Purpose of PR Report.

Fergus Campbell, head of PR and communications at Gumtree, reveals which tools the company deploys to power its media relations activity.


Alex Mead, editor-in-chief at quarterly sports journal Rugby and content director at eric, talks about launching the sport’s first “coffee table” title, the state of publishing today and his love of long form journalism.

Hamish Thompson, managing director of Houston PR, explains how the space theme runs through the fabric of the agency, sending a press release into orbit and how Houston juggles its diverse client list.


Tom Ritchie, Cision’s EMIA VP GTM and product, will give a practical talk and Q&A on how earned media measurement can help prove your worth at PR Week’s PR360 conference next Thursday.

Networking, campaigning and training body Women in Journalism has partnered with Cision to deliver an events programme that supports female journalists as they grow their careers.

Account wins

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts has appointed Newsfeed PR to develop and implement a new communications strategy.

Munch has been appointed to support the launch of GigRev, a platform for musicians and influencers from UK tech entrepreneur Kevin Brown.

Drinks distributor Edrington-Beam Suntory UK (formerly Maxxium UK) has handed Hope&Glory the consumer and trade PR briefs for its spirits portfolio.

Dr. Martens has selected creative comms agency John Doe to deliver the creative, content and execution for its AW18 product launch event.

Anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label has appointed The PHA Group to support its press office and UK campaign activations, following a competitive pitch.

Jupiter Asset Management has selected Powerscourt as its financial and corporate communications adviser following a competitive pitch.

Manchester-based PR agency Galibier is partnering with FinTech North to co-promote its series of events across the “Northern Powerhouse”.

Charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK has appointed The PHA Group to implement a three-month campaign to promote the charity’s annual WALK IT events.

Fitness and activewear brand Tikiboo has appointed Promote PR to raise its brand profile and drive consumer awareness.

Cleaning solutions and kitchen appliances company SharkNinja has appointed The PHA Group to manage its UK corporate and consumer comms strategy.

Lateral Property Group has appointed BWP Group to oversee naming, branding and strategy planning for the launch of Axiom, an out-of-town retail, leisure and sports development.

Marine motorsport promoter Powerboat P1 has expanded its relationship with Champions (UK), enlisting the agency to support its digital activity across 14 social media accounts in multiple markets.

Agency news

Isabella Gornall, the former head of Maitland Green, has launched Seahorse Environmental Communications. The agency’s mission is to design and execute political campaigns and comms programmes to enhance both the natural environment and clients’ commercial success.

People news

Sarah Richardson, Edelman‘s former senior director, is joining Weber Shandwick’s UK leadership team as the managing director of its corporate practice.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has appointed Ben Crosland as its senior communications officer for UK and Nordics.

Hotwire has appointed Susannah Wyeth as an associate director, responsible for driving growth and greater awareness across the agency’s B2B technology footprint.

Barry Leggetter will step down as CEO of the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) at the end of 2018, following 11 years in the position.

Redleaf Communications has promoted Ian Silvera to account manager in its capital markets team. He joined the agency in September 2017 from Newsweek Media Group, where he was a senior reporter.

Maitland Political has appointed Razi Rahman, Tony Blair’s former assistant political secretary, as chairman.

Caro Communications has hired Rossana Palmisano, Gracie Bennett, Catrin Podgorski and Cheryl Cross as account manager, junior account executive, digital media executive and office manager, respectively.

Built environment comms consultancy becg has appointed Shine Communications founder Rachel Bell as non-executive director and chair of its operational board.

MRM has promoted Tom Briffitt to senior consultant as the agency looks to grow and develop its consumer finance division. Briffitt previously led MRM’s consumer finance team’s media relations activity for clients including Hometrack, Scottish Friendly and John Lewis Finance.

Newington Communications has announced four new hires and promotions. Naomi Harris has been promoted to chief operating officer, while directors Chris White and Muniya Barua become managing directors of its public affairs and corporate affairs divisions respectively. Tom Flynn joins the agency as director of digital.

Alison Clews has also been appointed as head of Newington’s education, health and social care practice to cover account director Antonia Norman’s leave.

Elevate PR has appointed Harriet Saywell Lee as senior account manager. She has experience in the consumer and corporate property sectors and has worked with the likes of Berkeley Homes, Redrow Homes and JLL Residential.

Former journalist Pete Carvill has been appointed as a communications manager at Retresco.

Awards news

Cision companies have topped the list at this year’s AMEC Awards in Barcelona, with an overall total of 16 nominations across two organisations. The company received nine nominations across four award categories, while Cision-owned PRIME Research is nominated seven times across six categories.

Hacks vs Flaks

The Hacks and Flaks Easter Sports Day raised more than £15,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young, a charity which helps prevent sudden cardiac deaths in the young. The Hacks won the netball convincingly, while the Flaks clinched an epic football contest.

FTI Consulting’s Jamie Ricketts summarises both fixtures:

Driving rain did nothing to dampen a red-hot football match. With the scores level at 2-2 in the dying seconds, Uber’s Loven Jay fired a cross-cum-shot into the Hacks’ net through a sea of defenders.

It was a dramatic twist to an epic contest, as the PRs claimed victory over the journalists for the first time in five years.

Only minutes earlier, the Hacks had seemed destined to win after mounting a stirring comeback in the second half – pulling back a two goal deficit to level the scores.

Referee Harry “Pierluigi Collina” Staight (FTI Consulting) awarded the Hacks a stonewall penalty – a rare blemish for the Flaks’ outstanding defender Calum Macdougall (MHP Communications). Converting the penalty would give the Hacks the lead with only minutes left in the game…

But Flaks ‘keeper, Tom Bermingham (Brands2Life), turned the game in its head. After the journalists dithered over penalty-taking duties, the Flaks goalie made a fine penalty save. Moments later the Flaks sealed victory in a breathless finish.

Hacks v Flaks football. Photographer: Justin Thomas. For: Visual Media

After reclaiming the trophy following a five year losing streak, the Flaks once again lost the netball as the Hacks delivered an outstanding performance to reclaim their reputation as fixture champions in a 59-17 win.

In the first half it was clear that Fran Carson (Fitch Ratings), Rebecca Hampson (financial journalist) and Jodie McEwan (The Times) were an attacking force to be reckoned with. The BBC’s Holly Jones supplied some great feeds into the ‘D’ and Esther Shaw (personal finance writer) controlled the defence.

Scoring just two goals in the first quarter to the Hacks 17, in slippy conditions, things looked up when star Flaks regular Emma Walsh (Brunswick) turned up late. However, just five minutes into the second quarter Walsh, fully committed in the wet, went hurtling into the metal railings. A short cameo.

Player of the match went to Emma Goodwin (Luchford) who stoically defended against the Hacks attack. Marissa Chodakowski (Good Relations) played GA and GS for the Flaks despite an injury and should be commended for her performance.

We offer a big thanks to Tahlie Cooper (Good Relations) who helped organise the event and raise vital sponsorship.

Hacks v Flaks netball. Photographer: Justin Thomas. For: Visual Media

After the action, the players and spectators heard from a Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) ambassador on how the charity works to prevent sudden cardiac deaths in the young.

With a record fundraising haul of more than £15,000, CRY received generous contributions from lead sponsors Nationwide and Uber, as well as co-sponsors EY, Direct Line, FTI Consulting, Sharpener Communications, VisMedia, Telford Homes, Purplebricks, Galliard and Rokstone.

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