News in brief

PRWEEK TOP 150: The deadline to send in completed Top 150 forms is just over two weeks away – all forms must reach us by 1 March. If you haven’t received a copy of the form, download it from For information call features editor Stephanie Roberts on 020 8267 4425.

CONSUMER PR: Shetland-based spirits company Blackwood Distillers has hired its first PR agencies: Phipps PR and Tartan Silk. Blackwood launched three products last October – Shetland Vodka, Nordic Dry Gin and Jago’s, a vanilla vodka cream liqueur. Phipps will handle trade and consumer PR; Edinburgh-based Tartan will handle corporate PR.

TRAVEL: Duncan Stroud, former director of comms at Oftel, has taken a six-month contract as head of press and PR at VisitBritain. He has replaced Jo Leslie, who is on maternity leave.

MEDIA: Brian MacLaurin Associates has launched a PR offensive for

Top-Up TV, a pay-TV package set up by former Sky executives David Chance and Ian West. Top-Up TV offers viewers ten channels for £7.99 per month.

AWARDS: The International Public Relations Association’s 2004 Golden World Awards will take place in New York later this year. The deadline for nominations is 30 April.

TECHNOLOGY: Former HBL media co-founder and director Geoff Beattie has been appointed business development director at Brodeur Worldwide UK. He reports to chief executive Simon Ward.

B2B: UK business consultancy Edengene has hired Black & White Public Relations after a pitch (PRWeek, 9 January). Black & White director Christopher King reports to Edengene chief executive Tim Thorne.

CORPORATE: ConAgra Foods has appointed Ketchum as its first agency of record. The agency’s Chicago office will head the account for ConAgra, which will continue to use other agencies for brand PR work.

OFFICE LAUNCH: Weber Shandwick has opened an office in Liverpool. The office is being run by Weber Shandwick North MD Jo Leah.

MOTORSPORT: Band & Brown Communications has been appointed by Shell Racing Solutions to promote its competition fuels and lubricants to competitors across Europe via motorsport and other media.

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