Ex-Citizen Relations MD launches Unity-backed firm

Unity has backed Tin Man Communications, a new consumer PR agency launched by former Citizen Relations head Mandy Sharp with the Avis Budget group as a founding client.

LONDON: Unity has backed Tin Man Communications, a new consumer PR agency launched by former Citizen Relations head Mandy Sharp with the Avis Budget group as a founding client.

It is the first time that Unity, which has a minority stake in the business, has backed a startup.

The launch of Tin Man follows Sharp's decision to leave Citizen Relations last October after going on maternity leave. Her 16-year career has included co-founding Citizen Brando as part of the Band & Brown Group, where she worked for Unity founders Gerry Hopkinson and Nik Done.

Tin Man will be based in Unity's central London offices in the short term. However, there are no plans for the two agencies to share clients, with Hopkinson and Done instead offering counsel on growing the business.

Hopkinson, who described the venture as “very much Mandy's baby,” said that “we have always been huge fans of [Sharp] and are so excited to be working with her on this new venture.”

“We feel the time is right for us to share what we've learned in the past few years with someone who has massive talent and experience, and I'm sure there's plenty she can teach us as well,” he said.

Tin Man, which has three staffers and a network of freelancers, has been awarded the pan-European social media brief for the Avis and Budget rental car brands. It is believed there was no incumbent on the work, and the brands' main consumer and corporate work remains with the Red Consultancy.

Explaining the name of the agency, Sharp said that “in our digital world, we want to make communications human again.”

“That means creating campaigns ‘with heart' so they really connect with audiences,” she said. “It also means keeping things simple. Clients, media, and bloggers are all people, so we don't do jargon, techie talk, or fluff.”

Pointing to experience working with clients including BT, British Gas, TK Maxx, and Gatwick Airport, Sharp added that the goal is to attract major blue-chip companies.

“I am ambitious to grow and work with big brands from day one,” she said. “That's why I am linking up with Unity, because I know it will help accelerate that growth.”

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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