FOCUS ON LIVERPOOL: Agencies battle for culture capital brief

Four agencies are fighting it out for a sought-after ­account promoting Liverpool's status as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The Liverpool Culture Company has seen pitches from Weber Shandwick, Good Relations, Four Communications and cultural specialist Bolton & Quinn.

The successful agency will focus on the external presentation of the Liverpool, positioning it as a cultural tourist destination in both national and international media.

Sources involved in the pitch said the successful agency would be expected to drive tourism to the city by targeting travel supplements.

The winning agency will be tasked with raising awareness of Liverpool’s cultural assets, which include art galleries, the largest concentration of Grade I and II listed buildings and public sculptures outside of London, and Unesco world heritage wat­erfront site, the Pier Head.

Liverpool Culture Company director of comms Paul Newman did not say when a PR agency would be ­appointed. But he rejected the suggestion that the ­appointment should have been made earlier.

He said: ‘Our comms strategy is a combined effort between a selection of in-house teams that are ­already working hard. An agency is add-on support. Liverpool is the Capital of Culture in 2008. It’s not 2008 yet.’

Recent newspaper reports have accused the Liverpool Culture Company and Liverpool Council of dragging their feet in organising the opening ceremony.

The Liverpool Culture Company was set up – and is funded – by Liverpool City Council to oversee the Capital of Culture celebrations.

Liverpool is hoping for nearly two million extra visitors to the city as a result.

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