Justin Downes, the dapper City PR man and co-founder of Financial
Dynamics, has been dabbling in a bit of celebrity PR.
Downes, who made more than pounds 2 million from the sale of FD to the
Broad Street Group in 1987, has been advising celebrity couple Paula
Yates and Michael Hutchence.
But he assures me his input is purely strategic, insisting: ‘It’s very
informal - Michael is now a friend.’
Indeed, Downes says he kept well clear of the famous divorce case. That
was handled by Paula’s PR Gerry Agar, whose bare midriff and blue toe-
nails featured prominently in last week’s Sunday Telegraph.
Apparently Downes and Agar have known each other for eight or nine years
and worked together to rescue former Big Breakfast star Paula’s
They were so pleased with the arrangement that they are going into
business together, with a new PR agency called Impression Management.
It is one of a number of small businesses Downes has fathered - another
is headhunting firm Rizwan Nash.
Agar, former in-house PR for Muppets creator Henson Enterprises, is
obviously keen to dispel the notion that IM is some sort of Ab Fab
outfit. ‘Justin told me not to call you ‘treasure’,’ she tells me.
But she is effusive about her mentor: ‘It was Justin who pulled me
through my career,’ she says. ‘He is my sounding board.’
Apart from Paula and Michael, the fledgling agency’s other clients
include Ministry of Sound chairman James Palumbo - another old friend of
Downes - and business publisher Kogan Page. Agar is, however, reluctant
to reveal other celebrity clients on the basis that ‘it’s not very
clever PR to reveal the people you’re trying to promote’.
Methinks Max Clifford should be told.