Band & Brown quits beauty sector

Band & Brown Communications has quit the health and beauty sector and laid off four staff - including associate director Vanessa Okell.

Band & Brown MD Gill Brown confirmed the redundancies, saying Band & Brown's foray into health and beauty work had been a 'strategic mismatch'.

Band & Brown - which only set up a designated health and beauty team around seven months ago - ceased to work for Virgin Vie in August, when that brand took PR in-house.

Brown said the agency had 'failed to attract fresh work' in the health and beauty sector but the firm overall was 'bucking the recession'.

Brown added that there were no plans for further redundancies and stressed that the agency's core FMCG, consumer, tech and B2B/corporate divisions were performing well.

She said: 'It (health and beauty) was worth a punt. I think this particular sector - which is very specialist - is best left to huge agencies or small boutiques.'

Okell was deputy MD of Larkspur, the agency bought for a sum close to £2m in June 2000 (PRWeek, 30 June 2000).

Account director Sophia Oakenfold, is also being made redundant.

The Larkspur brand ceased to exist as of October last year, and soon afterwards MD Victoria Collis left the agency (PRWeek, 5 October 2001).

Brown insisted fee income was on course to match that of last year, when the agency recorded a sum just under £6m (PRWeek, 26 April).

Band & Brown was commended in the Agency of the Year category at last month's PRWeek Awards.

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