NEWS: Cunard hires PR to rescue image

Cunard Lines, the troubled cruise company, has appointed its first head of communications for Europe, Middle East and Africa as part of its continuing efforts to re-build its image.

Cunard Lines, the troubled cruise company, has appointed its first head

of communications for Europe, Middle East and Africa as part of its

continuing efforts to re-build its image.



Robyn Griffith-Jones, former head of marketing and PR at the Victoria

and Albert Museum, joins Cunard’s London office this week to oversee

internal and external communications across the region.



The company’s PR manager of 13 years Eric Flounders will continue to

manage media relations in the UK and Ireland but will now report to

Griffith-Jones.



Previously he reported to Cunard’s New York-based worldwide PR director

Bill Spears, hired last November after the much publicised QE2 ‘refit

cruise’ shambles.



The appointment of an additional PR executive to tackle the European

market is part of an attempt by Cunard to adopt a more proactive PR

strategy in the light of a series of widely reported disasters.



Cunard is also facing stiff competition from high street tour operators

such as Thomson venturing into the cruise market - which grew in volume

by 24 per cent last year.



Griffith-Jones, 39, is planning to focus on getting consumer media

coverage for Cunard’s eight ships by stepping up press trips and

promotional activity in the key markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain

and South Africa.



Aside from the German office which has a PR agency, Griffith-Jones will

liaise with Cunard sales agents in each country, although she hinted

the company is considering hiring dedicated public relations executives.



She will also manage Cunard’s PR agency when one is appointed within the

next two weeks (PR Week, 17 May).



‘Two thirds of Cunard’s custom comes from the US but there is a huge

amount of interest across Europe,’ said Griffith-Jones of her

appointment. ‘Bill felt he couldn’t manage the whole of Cunard from New

York.’



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