WS to promote Liverpool Capital of Culture status

Weber Shandwick has been charged with spearheading a planned international media blitz for Liverpool ahead of the city's European Capital of Culture status in 2008.

The agency has taken on the brief for the Liverpool Culture Company (LCC).

PRWeek revealed the council-funded group's plans to use an agency last year (PRWeek, 9 July 2004).

Up to eight agencies are thought to have pitched for the UK and international brief, which is to promote Liverpool as a tourist and business destination and to attract investment.

Promotional events began last Sunday with the arrival of the Clipper 2005/06 Round The World Yacht Race. The race was met by Miss England, crowned in Liverpool the night before.

WS is also promoting LCC's Creative Communities scheme, which has been running since Liverpool's nomination as 2008 European Capital of Culture two years ago.

Creative Communities is the UK's largest community arts programme and aims to involve Liverpudlians in the Capital of Culture plans. These range from the 'Cruel Sea' project to record the memories of foreign veterans involved in the Second World War, to the 'It's Not OK' scheme, which tackles alcohol abuse and violence among young people. LCC is lavishing £2m on the initiative between 2005 and 2006.

LCC's efforts to promote Liverpool's imminent cultural status have been marred by controversy.

In April, Liverpool City Council executive director (media) Matt Finnegan, who also headed PR for LCC, was suspended following an investigation into a 2005 Best Value Review audit.

Liverpool council leader Mike Storey and chief executive Sir David Henshaw recently agreed a 'Moving Forward' agenda, in which they pledged to improve planning for the 2008 status.

LCC has also hired LLM Communications to handle public affairs.

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