Karmarama and Beattie McGuinness Bungay finalise PR ventures

Two of the UK's major advertising agencies are pressing ahead with plans to break into the PR industry.

Karmarama chairman and partner: Nicola Mendelsohn
Karmarama chairman and partner: Nicola Mendelsohn

Fast-growing advertising firm Karmarama has poached Shine Communications director Chris McCafferty to set up an integrated PR agency. The ex-MySpace comms director is currently on gardening leave and will launch the joint venture at the beginning of July, PRWeek can reveal.

Meanwhile, advertising guru Trevor Beattie's agency, Beattie McGuinness Bungay, is in the final stages of staffing up its soon-to-be launched in-house PR agency, which is to be named BMB PR.

The latest developments suggest the two marketing disciplines are continuing to move closer together. It comes just weeks after Resonate co-founder Graham Drew moved across to sister advertising agency VCCP.

McCafferty's new agency will be run separately to the independently-owned Karmarama, but will benefit from having access to the advertiser's planning and evaluation divisions, plus its production arm Kream.

Karmarama's chairman and partner, Nicola Mendelsohn, said: 'We don't believe in the traditional tension between advertising and PR agencies. More briefs are asking for an integrated agency.

She added: 'If we want to be able to create the best work for our clients, we've got to be able to understand all elements of the marketing mix. Those that cannot will be left behind.'

Nick Porter of Iris PR, the PR arm of ad firm Iris, said: 'As more clients demand campaigns that work across disciplines to maximise both results and budgets, we expect to see more integration.

'But it's not as simple as just being in the same office - there has to be a willingness from all parties to work together to understand the nuances of each other's disciplines.'

Advertising and PR

Advertising agencies (in bold) and their sister PR agencies

Iris Iris PR
M&C Saatchi M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment
Ogilvy Group UK Ogilvy PR
Publicis Publicis Healthcare Life Brands Resolute
Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster
TBWA Staniforth

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