Long Island, NY ad shop starts PR unit to up client service

HAUPPAUGE, NY: Austin & Williams Advertising, a 35-person shop on Long Island, has opened a PR company, Austin & Williams Public Relations.

HAUPPAUGE, NY: Austin & Williams Advertising, a 35-person shop on Long Island, has opened a PR company, Austin & Williams Public Relations.

Michael Finnegan, who had his own PR agency, West Communications, will head up the new business.

Finnegan said that Austin & Williams wanted to start a PR arm because "they just thought it was going to be beneficial to those existing clients who were asking for the service. They did not want to hurt the advertising relationships with those businesses."

Austin & Williams' advertising clients include Long Island University, Friendly's, and Keyspan. Another, Provident Bank, has now become a PR client as well.

Clients that Finnegan brought over from his own agency include Bulbtronics, which supplies bulbs, batteries, and lighting products; Island Surf and Sport, a chain of retail shops in the Hamptons; and Harvey Allen Salons, a chain of high-end beauty salons.

Finnegan declined to say what his total billings are.

Warren Thompson, who had worked with Finnegan at West, joined the new PR agency as an SAE.

Prior to forming West, Finnegan headed corporate PR for CosmoCom, which provides voice over internet protocol technology. He has also worked at Computer Associates.

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