News in brief

ENTERTAINMENT Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty is re­taining a number of publicists, including Max Clifford and TV agent Aroon Maharajh of Full Portion Media. Quite Great PR is promoting an upcoming album. Jo O’Meara has drafted in Lisa Denning – MD of LDA Communications – after the sudden death of her agent last weekend.

CONSUMER Organic brand Whole Earth hasbrought in Cow PR to help it win more of the natural food market. The brand used Revolver Communications until the agency closed its London office at the end of last year (PRWeek, 4 August 2006).

AGENCY The PRCA’s quarterly Trends Barometer has revealed a bullish outlook from agency bosses. Half of those surveyed said budgets had increased, and 70 per cent said 2006’s final quarter made them feel ‘more optimistic’. Click here for the full survey.

CONSUMER Price comparison website is to hire its first consumer agency. Borkowski PR, 3 Monkeys and FD Consumer have been shortlisted.

CORPORATE Sports World has brought in Tulchan Communications ahead of a rumoured £2bn listing. Tulchan founder Andrew Grant is heading the account for the country’s largest sports retailer, which owns 370 stores and brands such as Dunlop Slazenger.

CONSUMER Weber Shandwick consumer marketing arm SLAM has won a three-month project to promote Playboy’s clothing to a more upmarket UK audience.

CORPORATE Virginia Hague has taken the top role at international PR umbrella body ICCO. The former Burson-Marsteller new business manager became executive director this week, replacing Simon Quarendon, who held the now defunct position of secretary general.

CONSUMER Firefly is promoting Sir Richard Branson’s new controversial venture – a move into stem-cell storage and the biotech sector. The new Virgin-branded company was due to launch today (1 February).

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