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Joe Public Relations out of race to retain eBay PR job

LONDON - Joe Public Relations' four-year grip on the eBay consumer PR account has ended, after the agency announced it had pulled out of the race to retain the brief.

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The move follows the internet auction firm's hiring of former Freud Communications board director Victoria Sayers as its first head of UK PR. Sayers put the brief out to tender as one of her first moves after joining earlier this year.

Joe Public's consumer director Sally Hetherington says the agency had reached an "amicable decision" with eBay not to compete for the business.

Hetherington said the agency, which merged with August.One Communications last year, was seeking to move away from the technology sector and concentrate more on gaining FMCG clients.

She said: "We thought it would be good opportunity for eBay to get a fresh pair of eyes and for us to make a fresh move as well."

Since the merger with August.One, Joe Public has lost high-profile clients including Casio and mobile phone operator 3. Hetherington said on the FMCG side the firm had recently won an account from Taisho International to promote its Lipovitan drink.

A priority for Joe Public's successor will be to tackle a wave of recent negative publicity surrounding fraudulent deals and false bidding on eBay.

The consumer PR review is part of a raft of changes across eBay's promotional activity. Earlier this week, it was announced that Omnicom Group's PHD had replaced Grey Global Group's MediaCom as its media agency after a four-way pitch.

It also recently hired Delaney Lund Knox Warren as its first above-the-line advertising agency, to create a campaign set to launch later this year.

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