PUBLIC SECT0R: GPC to take platinum body beyond jewellery

The International Platinum Association has appointed a PR agency

for the first time as the trade body seeks to increase awareness of the

metal's uses besides jewellery.



GPC International, whose MD Kevin Bell will oversee the account, has

been appointed to run a major public affairs and communications

programme for the non-profit organisation on a global basis. The account

is said to be worth close to £1m in fees.



The work will be run on a day-to-day basis by GPC London director Sandy

McLean who will oversee a team of seven consultants based in London,

Berlin and Brussels and from sister firm Fleishman-Hillard in

Washington, DC.



IPA managing director Marcus Nurdin, who made the appointment, said: 'We

have decided more needs to be done to make people aware of contribution

platinum makes - some people say one in five products would not be

possible without the involvement of platinum in key parts of the

process.'



McLean said: 'People often think of jewellery when they hear "platinum"

- our challenge is to get the word out about its other uses. It is used

in anti-cancer drugs and as a catalyst in various chemical and

industrial processes, as well as in catalytic converters in cars.



'We will be using traditional comms vehicles: media relations and

contact programmes. The key audiences are policy-makers, opinion-leading

media, and groups like environmental NGOs,' she added.



Nurdin said the point of the exercise was to encourage people to think

more positively about platinum - and other metals in the same group such

as Palladium and Osmium - and be more prepared to use them in developing

new applications.



The IPA is based in Frankfurt and handles industry-wide issues for the

mainly South Africa and Russia-based mining and refining firms. The

appointment follows a competitive pitch, but Nurdin would not reveal the

other participants.



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