Media veterans launch agency selection service

Clients bewildered by the array of PR consultancies have a new agency selection service to turn to.

Which PR is the brainchild of Martin Adeney, the former vice-president of public affairs for ICI and ex-industrial editor at the BBC. He has assembled a team of media big-hitters to advise businesses looking to recruit PR support.

Other advisers include ex-Brunswick partner and former business editor of The Times and The Independent David Brewerton, and ex-Independent City editor Clare Dobie. They are joined by Doug Richardson, previously a director at J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and Bell Pottinger.

Adeney was at ICI from 1989 to 2000, during Lord Hanson's failed takeover of the chemicals company.

He has since run his own agency, Martin Adeney Associates. 'I've had at least two major clients wanting help picking a bigger agency for work outside of my remit,' he said.

'I've also come across international firms wanting to know how to go about recruiting agencies outside of their traditional territory and even what PR support should cost in the UK.'

Which PR claims it will have the upper hand over other selection agencies, with one of its main selling points being the level of experience on offer.

It will also be independent of any of the agencies it recommends, receiving no fees from them. Clients will be charged an initial flat fee, with final payment dependent on whether Which's recommendations are acted on.

This Friday's (10 March) launch of the venture will be accompanied by the publication of a survey of 15 in-house comms chiefs, highlighting some of their concerns about the recruitment of PR support.

These include suspicions that agencies hand projects to junior staff, claims of lack of quick access to senior consultants, and dismay at a failure to deliver results.

Charges are also a concern, with one PRO saying some agencies will 'shaft you to meet quarterly results' and consider it 'a result'.

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