News in brief

TECHNOLOGY: Lewis PR has secured a £100,000 account to launch US firm Pillar Data Systems in the UK. The data storage company is backed to the tune of $100m by Oracle chief Larry Ellison. Separately, the agency has poached Grant Butler Coomber business development manager Paula Ford. She has taken the same role at Lewis.

CONSUMER The Swatch Alternative Fashion Week next March will be promoted by Frank PR. The account was formerly held by Nelson Bostock Communications.

AGENCY Crisis and issues management specialist Regester Larkin has hired Hugo Nisbett as a consultant. He joins from Trimedia Communications. Prior to that he worked in both Houses of
Parliament and has also worked as an aide to Tory leadership candidate David Cameron.

TRAVEL Tourism Noosa, an authority in Queensland, Australia,
is using Hills Balfour as its first European PR representation. The agency is working across the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
CONSUMER Leeds-based start-up Lucre is handling consumer PR for The Chambers, a £10m venture that aims to 'bridge the gap between top-class hotels and luxury apartments'. The agency already works for Best Western Hotels GB,, Leger Holidays and QHotels.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS Tarsh Consulting founder David Tarsh led the promotion for a mock funeral procession in West London this Thursday (20 October) – a protest against the extension of the congestion charge. The Forum for Private Business and Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP were due to take part.

CONSUMER Petplan has brought in IncrediBull Ideas on a project to publicise next April's Petplan Veterinary Awards 2006. Organisers hope the event will be televised in 2007.

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