MySpace hires to see off buoyant Facebook

MySpace is stepping up its fight against rival Facebook by simultaneously bringing in an agency and recruiting its first UK PR manager.

MySpace: claims that it has the edge in popular culture
MySpace: claims that it has the edge in popular culture

The social networking giant has taken action as Facebook gets closer to opening its London office.

Lexis fended off competition from three shortlisted agencies to land the wide-ranging consumer and corporate brief from MySpace.

The agency will start work immediately to focus on positioning MySpace as ‘the brand that allows people to express themselves’, according to MySpace director of corporate comms Chris McCafferty.

The account will be headed by Lexis consumer director Matt Buchanan, working alongside business communications director Mark Lyons. Buchanan will lead a seven-strong team out of Lexis’ London office.

MySpace has also appointed Alice Regester as its first UK PR manager, reporting to McCafferty. She was previously freelancing at Cohn & Wolfe’s tech division.

MySpace, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Interactive Media, still ranks higher than Facebook in terms of website visits, according to internet monitor Hitwise UK.

However, Facebook last month overtook MySpace in the number of web searches of its name. According to Hitwise VP of research Heather Hopkins, web searches serve as a good ‘predictive indicator’ of future rankings.

Lexis consumer head Buchanan denied his agency’s appointment had anything to do with competition from other social networking sites. ‘MySpace has a unique offering compared to

Facebook,’ he said. ‘Facebook is very much a traditional social networking site, but MySpace is on the cutting edge of pop culture.’

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