Freeserve consumer PR goes to PiranhaKid

Internet service provider Freeserve has hired PiranhaKid to handle its consumer PR on fees understood to be in the region of £500,000.

PiranhaKid won a five-way pitch against Cohn & Wolfe, Edelman, MacLaurin and Ketchum, effectively replacing Freeserve's former consumer PR agency Freud Communications, which ceased work for Freeserve in February and is now bidding to secure business from rival AOL (PRWeek, 4 April).

PiranhaKid MD Jason Gallucci said the aim was to 'make sense of the brand proposition', promoting Free-serve to the lifestyle media.

The agency will promote services such as broadband, plus Freeserve's streaming of the Glastonbury music festival in June.

PR manager Nadia Schofield said the firm would also 'create (PR) noise' around ad campaigns and may handle advertorial promotions.

Meanwhile, Freeserve has this week drawn up a shortlist of four agencies to handle a newly created public affairs remit.

Schofield said LLM Communications - which has handled PA work for Freeserve for the first quarter of the year on a project basis - is one of the agencies on a shortlist for the work, which carries fees understood to be around £100,000.

As PRWeek went to press, Freeserve was at the Competition Appeal Tribunal challenging telecom regulator OFTEL's dismissal of its complaint about what it alleged were anti-competitive practices used by BT early last year.

Schofield, who is co-ordinating the PA pitch alongside regulatory affairs head Simon Persoff, said: 'We need high-level experience to develop political contacts. LLM has shown us the benefits a PA agency can bring in terms of monitoring and analysis.'

Freeserve lost around £63m last year, despite growing its subscriber numbers from 2.3 to more than 2.6 million.

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