Start-up Paratus to handle Camelot PR

National Lottery operator Camelot has hired five-month-old Paratus Communications to handle its £250,000 regional consumer PR account.

Paratus, founded in October by former Hill & Knowlton stalwarts John Rivett and Dominic Shales, won the account in a competitive pitch that came down to a two-way battle against ten-year incumbent Harrison Cowley.

The start-up agency’s responsibilities will include winners’ publicity, consumer issues, campaigns and product launches.

‘Harrison Cowley served [us] very well for ten years but Paratus has developed a unique approach to regional PR that fits Camelot’s needs like a hand in a glove,’ said Camelot director of corporate affairs Mark Gallagher.

Paratus, which has eight other clients including NTL, has set up a network of individual PR professionals across the UK who will work on the account. The team will be led by John Rivett, who reports to Camelot’s incoming head of publicity Liz Warner and head of winners’ publicity Jacquie Wilson.

Camelot put the work up for grabs six months ago (PRWeek, 10 October 2003) and originally planned to appoint an agency by mid-November, but decided not to hand over the account until after the launch of its EuroMillions campaign.

A source said more than 50 agencies expressed an interest in the account, which saw Harrison Cowley and Paratus fight a two-month battle.

Camelot is understood to have spent £500,000 on average each year in annual fees on regional consumer PR in the past.

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