The BBC has chosen Harrison Cowley as its PR agency for a pilot
series of 16 listener exhibitions in the north of England.
The home, health and leisure fairs are a new departure for the BBC and
will feature both local and national exhibitors.
Harrison Cowley is responsible for all aspects of event management and
exhibitor liaison and is involved in recruiting national brand owners as
Nigel Sarbutts, associate director of Harrison Cowley's Leeds office,
will head the account, bringing expertise gained while working for IPC
Live! on consumer events, as well as on the Prima Baby Show.
The BBC began work on the ten-month project in February and may roll out
the initiative to other regions if it is a success.
'We had been talking to the BBC for a number of months and when the
opportunity came, they put the brief out to us,' said Cowley.
'We have a strong network and a big office in Leeds, which allows us to
manage the work locally.'
Ruth Fisher, BBC head of marketing (English regions), said Harrison
Cowley's local knowledge and contacts in Yorkshire and Humberside were
critical factors in the selection of the agency.
A document the company had produced on the importance of communities was
also an important motivator in the choice.
The BBC regards the local exhibitions series as a test of the medium and
will judge them on their effectiveness at raising the profile of the
Yorkshire and Humberside stations.
Fisher said the BBC wants to show it can 'be a catalyst in the community
rather than just reporting on it'.
Initially, the project involves a team of four from the Harrison Cowley
office, but the numbers involved will expand significantly at the time
of each event.