News in brief: Franklin Rae, FTI Consulting and Open Road

Franklin Rae has been appointed to work with Magic Light, the brand-building company that licenses children's book character The Gruffalo and has produced two Gruffalo films.

Gruffalo film producer Magic Light appoints Franklin Rae
Gruffalo film producer Magic Light appoints Franklin Rae

The agency will build the b2b profile of the Gruffalo brand in the US and the UK.

ITN has brought in the former head of PR at the News of the World, Hayley Barlow, as head of comms for Channel 4 News.

First Milk, the dairy company owned by British farmers, has appointed Brass to support its comms and marketing strategy.

Spreckley Partners has been appointed to handle PR for the UK launch of wall hanging device Takker.

PayasUgym, the fitness provider, has brought in Cow PR as its retained agency following a pitch, as it seeks to build its customer base in the UK.

LD Communications has been appointed to handle PR for the V Festival. The event is being held on 17-18 August at Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Weston Park, Stafford.

McCann Bristol has won the PR account for Woburn Estates following a pitch. The account covers Woburn’s businesses including the safari park, golf club and abbey.

The week in global PR

FTI Consulting has acquired US lobbying firm C2 Group to expand its public affairs services.

The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board is reviewing its PR representation in North America and is seeking an agency to promote the territory as a travel destination.

Young & Rubicam has expanded its Asia-Pacific PR firm PPR, opening three offices in the US, including an HQ in New York.

Burson-Marsteller has appointed Matthias Graf as CEO of its Swiss operations. He replaces Marie-Louise Baumann, who is to become chairman of B-M Switzerland.

Simon Sproule, Nissan Motor’s corporate vice-president of global marketing comms, will chair the judging panel for the PRWeek Awards Asia 2013.

Sony Electronics has consolidated more of its PR work with Burson-Marsteller, selecting the firm as its retained agency for its US consumer electronics business

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The Week in healthcare

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health has published a report that claims the level of tobacco smuggling and illicit trade in the UK is falling, despite repeated claims to the contrary from the tobacco industry.

Walbrook PR has appointed Anna Dunphy and Mike Wort to its life sciences team. The pair worked together at De Facto Financial, a spin-out from De Facto Communications, the healthcare arm of Bell Pottinger. They have worked on a number of AIM floats and fundraisings in recent years.

Nobull Life and Style has been called in by Medichem to raise awareness of its new two-stage skincare regime, FaceB4.

The Public Sector Week

LGComms has launched its second Future Leaders programme. The aim of the academy, which also ran last year, is to help the best and brightest young public sector PROs learn and progress in their careers. The scheme, which involves 13 PROs nominated by their bosses and runs through to the summer, began with a focus on comms at Westminster City Council.

Visit Birmingham has unveiled a tourism campaign designed to boost the region’s cultural profile. The ‘See More, Feel More’ campaign encourages visitors to spend a cultural break in Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull, and runs until the end of May.

The Northern Echo editor has attacked comms work at councils as ‘restricting free speech’. In a blog for the regional newspaper, Peter Barron attacked efforts by councils to restrict contact between reporters and councillors. ‘Increasingly, councils would prefer us to restrict our conversations to their press offices so all comments can be managed – controlled,’ he added.

The Week in The City

BCS Financial Group’s European arm has brought in Hume Brophy to raise  its profile, primarily in the UK. Russian financial institution BCS provides a full range of investment and advisory products to institutional and retail clients, although the agency’s remit is specifically about promoting its multi-asset prime brokerage, cost-effective and efficient execution and quantitative research.

The Bank of Ireland has hired Pat Farrell, chief executive of the Irish Banking Federation, as head of group comms and government affairs. He was head of marketing and comms at EBS Building Society until 2003 and General Secretary of Fianna Fail in the 1990s.

Balfour Beatty, the UK’s largest infrastructure firm, has hired Richard Howat to the newly created role of head of internal comms, based in the London hub in Victoria. Joining from Network Rail, he will drive engagement with the firm’s 12,000 employees following a restructure in the UK.

The Week in lobbying

Prudential, the insurance and pensions giant, has retained Open Road to handle its UK public affairs after a pitch process. The agency, which has held the account since winning it from Lexington in 2009, has been awarded a three-year contract.

Keolis, a French transport firm with interests in four UK rail franchises, has appointed Cavendish Communications to handle public affairs and PR after a pitch understood to have involved Open Road, Citigate and Insight Public Affairs. Keolis has a 35 per cent shareholding in the Govia joint venture with Go Ahead Group and a 45 per cent shareholding in the FirstKeolis joint venture with FirstGroup.

The APPC Young Consultants’ Committee is hosting a panel discussion on ‘Lobbying through the Ages’ on 29 April at the Ellwood Atfield Gallery. Warwick Smith, Gill Morris and James O’Keefe will each speak about when they first started heading agencies – in the 1980s, 1990s and noughties respectively. They will be joined by Peter Luff MP.

Alex Dawson, formerly political adviser to the Prime Minister, has stepped into the role of Conservative research and policy head. The position became vacant after Nick Park was poached by British Gas owner Centrica for a head of policy role.

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