ZURICH — Farner has hired Alexander Filz (pictured) into its technology and industry practice. The comms veteran has worked in senior roles in nutrition, health, industry, precision instruments, construction, energy and technology companies, including vice president of communications at ABB and head of communications at DSM. Filz was also Burson-Marsteller’s chief operating officer in Switzerland. He will report to the head of Farner’s technology and industry practice, Christopher Cartwright.

LONDON — The PRCA’s Global Covid-19 Taskforce has launched a free consultation service to help communications leaders manage their organisations and agencies through the crisis. The service, led by Lansons CEO and Taskforce chair Tony Langham with deputy chair Rod Cartwright, connects experienced advisors from around the world with communications leaders seeking support. More than 50 senior consultants have so far volunteered. To volunteer, contact [email protected].

LONDON — Clarity has been appointed by customer experience optimisation specialist Eggplant as its UK PR agency. John Bates, CEO of the software testing and monitoring company, said, “We need an agency partner who can help Eggplant break new ground and enable us to reach our core audiences in original ways. We believe we’ve got this in Clarity and look forward to working together to eliminate bad software from the IT industry.”

ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST —The African Development Bank Group has promoted Nafissatou N’diaye Diouf from division manager to acting director for communications and external relations. She previously served as a communications consultant with the bank’s private sector and infrastructure complex and trade department and has also worked as PR director for Francophone Africa ZK Advertising in Johannesburg and as an Associated Press journalist.

LONDON — John Doe has been appointed as global PR agency for Pernod Ricard’s coffee liqueur brand, Kahlúa. The agency already handles global work for Pernod brands Jameson, Absolut and Malibu. The agency’s trade and consumer PR work will focus on establishing the brand with younger, coffee-loving consumers, including amplifying product launches and events, and a barista advocate programme.

PARIS — Jin has created a Digital Event Guide for companies looking to connect, educate and maintain their events and communications programs while ‘real-life’ events are cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis. The guide looks at using digital tools to maintain contact and ensure business continuity based on a 3-step method: ensure visibility; gather together online; activate the community.

LONDON — Specialist entertainment and culture agency Premier PR has launched a new division offering virtual, technology-led PR and publicity solutions for film, television, gaming and cultural clients. The new division will be led by executive director Lawrence Francis and is already working with broadcasters, digital streaming services, film studios and cultural institutions on projects including Element Pictures’ BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People and the launch of the London Philharmonic Orchestra's initiative to bring live music into people's homes during lockdown.

LONDON — New agency Sidekick – set up by former Hotwire head of consumer Emma Hazan last year – has won the corporate and consumer account for Roto VR. The company was founded in 2015 by video games industry veterans to develop an interactive, immersive 360-degree VR chair. Sidekick’s brief is to drive Roto’s reputation among peers, investors and B2B customers, as well raising awareness of the Roto VR chair to a consumer audience, via comms strategy, thought leadership, product reviews, influencer marketing and content creation.

MOSCOW — iMARS Communications has won a contract to provide communications support to promote physical activity, sports and healthy lifestyles in Russia as part of the government’s ‘Sport is a way of life’ initiative. The agency will be responsible for social media strategy, creative and implementation, as well as work with opinion leaders and influencers.

LONDON — Three former Instinctif directors have launched a new agency, United Culture, to help companies engage with internal and external audiences. MD Victoria Lewis-Stephens was a managing partner at Instinctif Partners and previously worked as vice-president of communications EMEA at investment bank State Street. Director Alys O’Neill was a partner and engagement director at Instinctif and director of operations Mavis Boniface was a campaign director.