China Now u-turn robs GH of major account

A charity that is the brainchild of Brunswick founder Alan Parker has reneged on an agreement to hire Golin Harris after informing the agency that it had won a £150,000-plus brief.

Golin Harris was one of four agencies invited to pitch for the China Now project – a six-month festival designed to foster better understanding of Chinese culture. Having been told that it was successful, the agency was subsequently told that money was no longer available.

The u-turn, instigated by a China Now board meeting involving chief executive ­Simon Heale, was followed by marketing director Simon Cheung leaving the charity. Cheung was formerly European brand director for ­Playstation.

‘I can confirm that GH was involved in a pitch for China Now,’ said GH joint MD Matt Neale.

‘Following a thorough pitch process, ­Simon Heale informed us he had not raised the necessary funding, therefore no agency would be hired.’

A spokesman for China Now told PRWeek that the project was still ‘on budget’ and had substantial funding, but that plans had changed, prompting the ‘unfortunate’ situation.

One of the other agencies involved in the pitch process told PRWeek: ‘While China Now is an interesting project, it required substantial bud­get to deliver expectations’ and it was felt the budget on offer was too small.’

China Now is currently hunting an in-house PR chief and has not ruled out bringing in agency support ahead of its launch next February.

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