Red Hat Communications, the PR agency appointed by the National Lottery
organisers Camelot to advise jackpot winners on how to handle publicity,
has ceased trading.
Alasdair Buchan, creative director with the agency, said its three
partners had decided to wind up the business to go their own ways.
Red Hat was revealed as the fourth agency on Camelot’s PR roster last
November, alongside The Rowland Company, Hall Harrison Cowley, and
Brunswick (PR Week, 25 November 1994).
Buchan insisted that the split was amicable, that the agency had traded
profitably since setting up in business in 1993, and was now being
profitably wound up. He will continue to act as an independent
consultant for Camelot, reporting to communications director David Rigg.
Buchan will also continue to act for clothes retailer River Island,
while fellow director Sarah Winstone is understood to be planning to act
as an independent consultant for other ex-Red Hat clients.
The third director, Rik Dalglish, chief executive of Red Hat and ex-
managing director of Ruder Finn, is planning a return to the agency
Buchan advised Camelot on its strategy for jackpot winners ahead of the
launch, and later acted as ‘hand-holder’ to its big winners during the
first few months of operation. He then moved on to a more ‘strategic
media adviser’s role’.
Following the launch, Buchan dealt face-to-face with the Mohidin family
in Blackburn who won the first pounds 17.8m lottery jackpot and whose
wish for anonymity was wrecked by a tabloid bounty on their names.
He became embroiled in controversy as lottery PR staff were wrongly
accused by MPs and other critics of helping newspapers narrow down their
search for the winner.