April 14, 2006


The end is nigh for The World of Hi-Tech PR.

Over recent months, work and personal lives have got busier. The result is that I have less time than before to keep this site updated.

Writing it started as a joy. Now, because of other commitments, it has now become a chore. Rather than posting intermittantly, it seems more honest to just stop.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read The World of Hi-Tech PR. Perhaps I will venture back someday. Perhaps not.


March 05, 2006

Vodafone hires Shine for new live music project

Vodafone has hired Shine Communications to support a new live music venture.

Shine has been tasked with building up excitement around a new set of "secret location" gigs as well a new music awards ceremony that Vodafone is organising.

Shine beat off competition in a three-way pitch to win the account.

Borkowski, Vodafone's currrent consumer agency, is unaffected.

From PR Week

Dell looks for new EMEA comms director

Dell is looking for a new EMEA communications director to replace Roger Wilson who is set to retire. Wilson will leave the company when a replacement is found.

PR Week reports that Spencer Stuart has been hired to fill search for potential successors.

Wheeler joins Firefly

Adrian Wheeler has joined Firefly as an non-executive director.

Previously, Wheeler was chairman of GCI Europe.

From PR Week

PR Week gets it wrong about Bite again

What is it with PR Week and Bite?

It's already had to correct last week's story about James Warren.

And then, on the very same page, it gets it wrong again. David Hargreaves, who is now MD of Bite UK, didn't leave Firefly earlier this year. He left in 2002.

It's disapointing that PR Week didn't know this.

After all, it was only two months ago that it ran the story about Hargreaves' appointment as UK MD following Bite's acquisition of Credo (January 6, 2006).

Go back further to 2002, and it was PR Week that broke the story of Hargeaves' departure from Firefly. It appeared online on August 28, 2002 and made the front page in the print edition on September 6, 2002.

Bite appoints new head of consumer

Robin Wilson has been hired by Bite as head of consumer.

He was previously an associate director at Firefly.

Sherly Seitz, the former head of consumer, left Bite last year to join Apple. Rachel Bachman, Bite's head of strategic services, had been overseeing the team since.

From PR Week

O2 hires new lobbyist

O2 is believed to have hired a new group director of public affairs.

Roger Sharp, who is currently special advisor to culture secretary Tessa Jowell, is expected to join the firm after the local elections in May.

Reading today's headlines, you have to wonder which of the two will be leaving government first.

From PR Week

February 25, 2006

PR Week rival to launch

A challenger to PR Week is being launched in the UK.

Called PR Business, it is the brainchild of Geoff Lace, who founded PR Week. He is editor in chief. The editor is Eirwen Oxley Green, a former Radio Times sub.

Lord Chadlington, founder of Shandwick and more recently Huntsworth, is also involved.

PR Business will launch in mid-March.

From Media Guardian (free registration required) via Antony Mayfield's Open

Tech boss becomes CEO of H&K UK

Sally Costerton has been appointed as UK chief executive at Hill & Knowlton.

She was previously head of technology in EMEA.

From PR Week

Tiscali puts PR up for grabs

Tiscali's UK PR account is for for pitch.

Judy Haskayne, PR and comms director, said to PR Week that: "We will reviewing everything: our consumer, trade, corporate and public affairs support."

Borkowski, responsible for the corporate and consumer briefs, is now working on a project basis. Firefly and LD Communications have both also worked for Tiscali over the past year, respectively handling B2B press relations and music projects.

Bite loses creative chief

James Warren, creative director at Bite PR and head of its interactive business, is leaving to join Weber Shandwick.

He will be leading a new web-relations division.

From PR Week (24 February 2006)


James Warren stopped working full-time for Bite in October 2005. Since then he has been working as a freelance for Bite UK in a number of different roles.

Greg Rooney is head of Bite' interactive business.

Again from PR Week (3 March 2006)

Sony Ericsson in hunt for new agency

Sony Ericsson is searching for an agency to promote its sponsorship of the Women's Tennis Association tour.

From PR Week

Sony Ericsson consolidates global PR

Brando has picked up more work from Sony Ericcson.

The agency will be strengthening the firm's global brand message and implementing more proactive media relations.

From PR Week

Pleon to be dumped by Infosys?

India's second largest software company, Infosys, is reviewing its UK PR account.

Incumbent Pleon has been in place for three years. Emma Richards, EMEA PR manager for Infosys, wouldn't say whether Pleon had been asked to re-pitch however she did confirm that it will continue to represent the company in France and Germany.

From PR Week

Live Nation hires agency for O2 festivals

Amazing Media has won a contract to promote this year's O2 Wireless Festivals in London and Leeds.

Event organiser Live Nation ran a three way pitch for the print and online PR contract. The losers were The Outside Organisation and LD Publicity

Scream Promotions handles broadcast PR. Cohn & Wolfe is looking after brand PR for O2.

From PR Week

Nokia loses community relations specialist

Veronica Scheubel has left Nokia to join APCO.

Scheubel is an associate manager in the European CSR strategy team.

At Nokia, she was senior management of community involvement.

From PR Week

PR Week feature on Wikipedia

PR runs a feature this week titled "Wikipedia: friend or foe on the net?"

In it, Adam Hill asks how PROs can use the online encyclopedia to their advantage.

February 18, 2006

Intel shakes up UK PR

As part of a global re-shuffle, Intel has handed its European PR to two WPP agencies, Burston-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton.

B-M affiliate Mmd may also pick up some business in central and Eastern Europe.

The big losers appear to be incumbents Weber Shandwick, Fleishman-Hillard, Catalysis and Red.

From PR Week.

PR Week on press freebies

Another article in this week's issue sees PR Week asking if "PROs knowingly compromise editorial integrity"?

Among those quoted from the world of hi-tech PR are Ian O'Leary, corporate comms director of Seagate Technology; Stephanie McLeod, associate director at Samsung UK; and Grant Currie of Inferno.

PR Week feature on Google

Google is the subject of a feature in PR Week this issue. The magazine asks how Google can recapture its cool.

It features opinions from four organisations. H&K and B-M are the chosen PR agencies with The Times and Computing providing the media's perspective.

Portugal Telecom hires UK help

Portugal Telecom has hired Financial Dynamics to help defend it against a bid from Sonae.

From PR Week.

Northgate hands financial PR over

Maitland has won the financial PR for Northgate Information Solutions. It won the business after a four-way pitch against incumbent Brunswick as well as Financial Dynamics and Bell Pottinger.

PR Week reports that the account is worth £150,000.

Pleon win Commodore PR

Pleon has won a global PR contract for Commodore after a competitive pitch.

Commodore is best known for its iconic 1980s home computer, the Commodore 64.

From PR Week

Orange merges internal comms team

Orange has merged its two internal communications departments into a new group called Employee Communications and Engagement. Overall responsibility for this lies with Steve Aumayer, UK vice-president of business support.

The move happened a couple of months, about the same time that Orange's head of internal comms, Kate Haddon, resigned to go to Vodafone.

From PR Week

Vodafone hires new internal comms chief

Kate Haddon has joined Vodafone UK to head up its internal communications. She was previously at Orange.

Haddon replaces Annette Ware, who was promoted to head of UK brand entertainment and communications about 12 months ago. In the interim period, Vodafone had been using freelancer Sarah Hale.

From PR Week

February 11, 2006

Acquisition fever coming to the tech sector?

PR Week has some gems in its feature "The Valentine's Matchmaker" this week.

Aparently neither Chime (owner of Bell-Pottinger, Harvard and Insight) nor Huntsworth (owner of Citigate and Red) "will ignore a good opportunity in the increasingly attractive areas of public affairs, healthcare and technology." Lorna Tilbian of Numis Securities, house broker to both firms, is quoted as saying "If you can offer them a well-run agency with growth potential in these practices, they'll buy it."

Don Elgie, CEO of Creston (the owner of Nelson Bostock) is also "looking for consumer and tech practices to help him out of Nelson Bostock's conflicts."

And Hotwire was up for sale last year but is now off the market. It failed to find a buyer "partly, it is said, because co-founders Kristin Syltevik and Anthony Wilson, wanted to leave upon completion of a deal."

Lewis blog put in shade by traditional media

Hundreds of thousands of people watched the tragic adventure of the London whale on Sky News. The BBC news site had over a million page views that Friday.

Yet - with Lewis PR's whale watch blog pulling in 'just' 30,000 page views - Jon Silk, a senior creative manager there, feels able to claim in a letter to PR Week that "we showed how blogging can replace traditional media channels in events like these."

Nonsense. While 30,000 page views is a very very impressive readership (we'd settle for a tenth of that) it hardly justifies Silk's claim.

From Media Guardian:

"(The whale saga) was the top story on the BBC News website on Friday, attracting 1 million page impressions."

"On Friday, when Sky News went live to coverage of the drama from its SkyCopter from around 12.30pm, the channel had a peak audience of 174,000 viewers at 5pm, with 158,000 an hour earlier."

"The audience for Sky News' coverage of the whale's plight peaked at 365,000 viewers at 2.45pm on Saturday."

"(BBC) News 24's biggest audience on Saturday came at around 4pm, when 313,000 viewers were watching."

"Users (of the BBC News Player) made just over 315,000 requests for the BBC's whale round-up package and a further 207,000 requests for live coverage."

Bignell takes over at Motorola

Motorola has hired Chris Bignell as communications and public affairs manager for the UK and Ireland.

Bignell was previously UK PR and advertising manager at Toshiba Mobile. He replaces Patrick Hamilton who moved to Kodak last year.

From PR Week

New MD at Whiteoaks as founders step aside

James Kelliher has been appointed MD at Whiteoaks. He was previously client services director.

Founders Gill Craig and Bill Nichols have become joint chairs.

From PR Week.

Three agencies win at Google

Google has hired three PR agencies.

Cow gets some consumer work, Portland's been hired to handle corporate PR, and Octopus has won the B2B account.

PR Week also reports that more 'project-driven' appointments may be made in the future.

The appointments follow Rachel Whetsone's arrival as director of European communications and public affairs.

Firefly previously handled PR for Google but its work ended in November last year.

February 03, 2006

HP ditches H&K in European review

HP has taken two major pieces of pan-European business away from Hill & Knowlton.

B-M has picked up the PR for HP's Technology Solutions Group while Porter Novelli has won the Imaging and Printing Group account.

PR Week is reporting that together the two accounts were worth up to £2 million to H&K.

Marconi loses public affairs chief

Elizabeth Kanter, Marconi's VP of government affairs, is leaving the company following the sale of the bulk of its assets and its name to Ericsson.

From PR Week

January 29, 2006

Symantec PR bitten by The Sunday Times

We're predicting much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Maidenhead tomorrow morning following The Sunday Times today.

Symantec's PR team came in for a battering in Prufrock over a recent survey its been publicising.

"The most ridiculous survey of the week comes from Symantec ....... Here at The Sunday Times, our inboxes are clogged with stupid surveys dreamt up by by PRs desperate for some publicity."

Still, all publicity is good publicity. Right?

(Read the story here).

January 28, 2006

Jobs on the go

AOL Europe is hiring an internal communications manager.

Ask Jeeves is after a European PR and communications manager.

Microsoft is looking for a UK Technology Audience PR Manager.

Russian telco swops agencies

Russian telco Altimo has dumped APCO and hired Cubitt Consulting. The account is thought to be worth £1 million.

From PR Week

AOL hires new UK PR manager

Phil Hales has been hired by AOL UK as senior communications manager. He was previously with the RAC.

From PR Week

January 22, 2006

The return of the bunny

Spin Bunny is back.

Getronics hires Firefly

Firefly has beaten out Worth Communications and two other agencies to win Getronics' PR business.

Incumbent Kinross & Render was not involved in the pitch. It had held the account for six years.

From PR Week

Vodafone appoints director of external relationships

Matthew Kirk has been appointed as group director of external relationships by Vodafone group. He is currently British ambassador to Finland.

All change for Blackberry

RIM has rejigged its European communications following the departure last week of Sarah West, head of corporate marketing and EMEA comms head. She is moving to Brunswick.

No permanent replacement has yet been found for West.

Her PR responsibilities are being covered temporarily by Hannah Jackson, EMEA corporate PR manager, Meigan Terry, EMEA head of PR, and Nerissa Townend, UK PR manager.

From PR Week

Fraser Butters joins Pleon

Pleon has hired Fraser Butters as its European business development director.

In the past, Butters has been MD of Spreckley Partners, head of Burson-Marsteller's tech practice, and a director of Harvard PR.

3 loses comms head to Reuters

Ed Williams, director of corporate communications at 3, is leaving the company to join Reuters.

Williams only joined 3 last year.

From PR Week

January 15, 2006

PR Week profiles Bite

PR Week is running a full page feature on Bite this week. This follows the acquisition of Credo and the subsequent appoint of Credo founder David Hargreaves as UK MD.

The piece is titled "Bite tries to solve UK power problem."

Bailey quits Edelman

Imogen Bailey, European technology director at Edelman, is leaving the firm to take some time out.

This comes just months after Edelman appointed Jonathan Hargreaves as European technology MD. Hargreaves was previously head of technology with Weber Shandwick.

From PR Week

McAfee goes with Octopus

Octopus has been hired by McAfee to run its UK PR.

It beat incumbent Red as well as Nelson Bostock and Catalysis. Red remains McAfee's global consumer agency.

The pitch followed Bite's decision last October to resign the account in order to work for rival Symantec.

From PR Week

Firefly retains Avaya's UK business

Avaya has re-appointed Firefly to handle its UK PR. It has held the account for five years.

No decision has been announced on the pan-European PR contract nor the other in-country briefs.

From PR Week

Marconi comms director to leave

David Beck, group communications director at Marconi, is to leave the company once Ericsson has completed its purchase of the firm's telecommunications equipment and international services businesses.

He is currently recruiting a head of IR and comms for Telent, the new name being adopted by Marconi.

From PR Week

Vodafone shortlists agencies for music PR

Vodafone has asked Shine Communications, Cow PR, Borkowski and another agency to pitch for a series of music-related events.

This doesn't affect Borkowski's current consumer brief.

From PR Week

January 14, 2006

Brands2Life wins T-Mobile

T-Mobile has awarded its consumer PR contract work to Brands2Life. The firm already handles T-Mobile's B2B work and has previously handled consumer projects.

Brazen, Firefly and one other agency also pitched for the work.

Brazen will still handle some consumer projects while Amazing will continue to promote T-Mobile's 'street gigs'.

From PR Week

Orange hires Golin Harris

Golin Harris has beaten Nelson Bostock and Jackie Cooper to win Orange's consumer brief. Its contract also includes some corporate work.

GH is being briefed to target groups such as students, high-flyers and first-jobbers. Some press office work will also be outsourced as well. GH will also be responsible for promoting Orange's presence at various European trade shows.

From PR Week

January 10, 2006

Threepipe picks up ISP

Griffin Internet, a B2B ISP, has appointed Threepipe to handle its PR.

January 06, 2006

Memorex appoints Pleon in Europe

Pleon has been hired by Memorex to promote its range of data storage products in Europe.

The contract, which was previously held by Spreckley Partners, is thought to be worth at least £100,000.

Pleon's sister company Brodeur represents Memorex in North America.

From PR Week

Band & Brown wins Wanadoo project

Wanadoo has appointed Brando, the events division of Band & Brown, to handle a three month consumer PR project. Brando beat Companycare to win the business.

From PR Week

Is Check Point's account up for review?

Following Bite's acquisition of Credo, there's a question mark over the future of the Check Point account.

Bite already handles PR for larger rival Symantec.

Check Point EMEA PR manager Margreet van Kinschot said: "This is all open for discussion. It really depends on how the accounts are organised."

From PR Week

Bite appoints Hargreaves as UK MD

Bite has bought Credo Communications and appointed its founder, David Hargreaves, as UK MD.

Hargreaves set up Credo in 2003 after leaving Firefly where he was deputy MD.

Barry Leggetter, the incumbent MD, will continue as chairman of the Bite group.

From PR Week

Virgin brings in support over NTL bid

Virgin Group has brought in M: Communications to advise it over NTL's bid for Virgin Mobile.

Virgin Mobile is advised by Finsbury.

From PR Week

January 05, 2006

We're sorry for the break. Normal service has now been resumed.

Happy new year to everyone.