In brief: Lidl's new NI agency, ex-KPMG PR unveils consultancy, wins for Montfort, Shine and Halpern

Lidl's new PR agency for Northern Ireland announced, former KPMG head of communications Sorrelle Harper names first client for new agency, Shine PR wins Thai island resort brief, and more from PRWeek UK.

Lidl hires new agency for Northern Ireland

Lidl has hired LK Communications as its retained PR agency in Northern Ireland following a six-way pitch. The supermarket group, which launched in Northern Ireland in 1999 and has 38 stores there, has appointed LK to handle comms across its core brand, consumer, corporate and community specialisms. LK director Dana McCusker said: "We are very excited and motivated to work with Lidl to share, shape and strengthen this success story strategically in Northern Ireland." The account was previously held by Smarts, which said: "Whilst we enjoyed a long and very successful relationship with Lidl, we decided not to re-pitch for the account this time around. We believe now this is the right moment for Smarts to explore other opportunities within the NI food retail sector and we wish Lidl all the best for the future."

New agency from ex-KPMG comms head names first client

Sharpener Communications, a new PR agency set up by former KPMG head of communications Sorrelle Harper, has announced its first client. The agency is working with EV8 technologies, which provides technology for electric car development. Sharpener, which launched earlier this year, has also been appointed by privacy software engineering firm Privitar. Harper joined KPMG in 2008 to lead PR for the Transactions & Restructuring practice, before going on to run the press team and eventually heading the comms department. She previously worked for Deloitte, the Chartered Institute of Taxation, and Penrose Financial (now part of MHP).

Halpern wins Taiwanese restaurant account

Taiwanese restaurant group Din Tai Fung has appointed Halpern as its brand PR strategy and media comms agency in the UK, ahead of its London debut. Halpern’s role will involve brand development and media and influencer relations, and will be responsible for launching the first site in Covent Garden in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by a second in Centre Point in early 2019. Din Tai Fung operates in several countries, including the US, Singapore, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia and Thailand.

Montfort wins sustainable investment group account

Impax Asset Management, the AIM-listed specialist investor focused on sustainable economies, has appointed Montfort Communications as its communications adviser. It follows Anne Gilding’s decision to leave the company after six years as head of communications to return to freelance comms consultancy work. Founded in 1998, Impax makes investments based on sustainability considerations, looking at areas such as resource scarcity, environmental constraints and population movements.

Shine PR wins Thai island resort brief

Luxury travel-focused PR agency Shine PR has been hired as the retained global PR agency for Twinpalms Hotels & Resorts on the Thai island of Phuket. Shine will handle PR strategy implementation, campaign development, media relations and the press office. Part of the focus will be "Asia’s First Beach Party Season", held at Catch Beach Club on Phuket from mid-December to February 2019.

Data firm win for Spark Communications

Data science company Polymatica has appointed b2b tech PR agency Spark Communications to manage its UK PR. The agency said the programme includes messaging and positioning work, thought leadership and media relations activity. The client is headquartered in London, with offices in Zurich and Moscow.

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