Virgin Trains seeks agency for Xmas campaign as Karmarama withdraws amid staff changes

Virgin Trains is undertaking a creative pitch for its Christmas campaign, as incumbent Karmarama withdraws amid changes in its PR operation, with the impending departure of a number of staff plus new arrivals.

Karmarama managing partner Rosie Holden - who joined in April to lead its PR and social influencer discipline, which previously existed under the Kaper name – confirmed to PRWeek that an unspecified number of staff are leaving the business. However, others would be joining.

Holden said she and creative director Jamie Mancini - an ex-colleague of hers at John Doe who joined Karmarama in June – were "brought in clearly to make a change in the flavour of the work coming out of Karmarama".

"While we focus on realising that vision, it’s best we step away from pitching." Holden said that in the past three months, her team has delivered a project for Nike EMEA, culture and entertainment briefs for Diageo, and won an undisclosed "major" new gaming client.

It's unclear whether Karmarama and Virgin Trains will continue to work together outside the Christmas campaign. PRWeek understands Virgin Trains is considering options for its PR support but is focusing on the Christmas campaign for the time being.

Richard Scott, executive director, corporate affairs, at Virgin Trains said: "We have ambitious plans for Christmas this year and felt that a creative pitch would give us the very best opportunity to deliver the very best campaign. We’ve already approached a few agencies and are very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with."

Karmarama won the six-figure annual account with Virgin Trains last summer after a competitive pitch. The work was previously undertaken by Hope&Glory and Nonsense, who both declined to re-pitch for the account, which consolidated its PR and social briefs into one.

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