Sars-masks firm considers agency hire

A company selling respirators to protect against the deadly Sars virus is considering hiring PR support to boost the company’s profile and handle media enquiries.

MD of SafetyMasks Brian Marin confirmed that he was interested in talking to agencies about ‘actively promoting’ products, including respirators for Sars made by 3m and Duram ‘escape masks’ for ‘chemical or biological incidents’.

Marin said a pitch for PR support was possible, but stressed this was unlikely within the next three months due to ‘priorities and time constraints’.

However, Marin added that ‘everything changes on a daily basis’. SafetyMasks – a division of e-business firm Maxmi, of which Marin is also MD – has produced flyers with the slogan ‘Gas Masks: Be Prepared’.

Marin denied he was using scare tactics to boost sales. He said: ‘We are not in the business of terrorising. We’re not going to be dressing in chemical suits at Tube stations, like some companies have done. We take a more passive approach.’

SafetyMasks has undertaken limited promotional work so far, merely distributing approximately 25,000 flyers in London and handling ‘key-word placement on search engines’ in a bid to drive traffic to the firm’s website.

Marin said fees for a potential contract were undecided and that any agency hired could potentially work forboth SafetyMasks and Maxmi.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire-based Lexicon PR is handling crisis comms for Harrogate Ladies College, which has placed 42 boarders from Hong Kong and China – where Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has so far caused around 140 deaths – in quarantine until 3 May.

Lexicon, for which managing director Sue Baker has been handling the crisis remit, has been the retained agency for Harrogate Ladies College for around six years.

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