NEW YORK, February 5—For nine years, New York ad agency kirshenbaum bond & partners—long regarded as one of the hot creative shops in town—has secretly harbored a public relations and promotions unit that worked primarily with k&b clients, offering traditional media relations and event marketing counsel alongside a special expertise in guerrilla marketing. Now k&b is spinning that unit off and opening a new PR firm, Lime, which will operate independently while still drawing on its parent company’s creative talent.

Lime will be led by Claudia Strauss, who joined kb&p in 1999 from a consulting firm that worked with “fast moving companies.” Other senior staff include Laura Leinweber, who will serve as vice president of strategic communications; David Freeman, VP and director of marketplace intelligence; and Jim Anstey, VP and director of brand action.

“kirshenbaum bond has been credited with creating the grassroots marketing phenomenon, and a lot of the thinking behind that came out of this group,” says Strauss. “In a cluttered communications environment, we have experience creating programs that break through, often using guerrilla marketing techniques, PR with a twist.”

The unit has handled assignments for clients such as Hennessy, Target, Blimpie, Cablevision, and Tommy Hilfiger, and currently represents Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Liberty Mutual, Fast Company, Citibank, and Credit Suisse First Boston. It was recently named agency of record for Cahners Business Information and the Global Education Network, an Internet learning venture.

Strauss believes the timing of the spin-off is particularly propitious, as marketers begin to watch their spending more carefully and look for more bang for every buck. “We are used to thinking beyond PR, to thinking about the brand very broadly, and to coming up with programs that are creative and effective,” she says.       

“Public relations and promotions are finally being recognized as pivotal disciplines,” says Jon Bond, co-founder and co-CEO of kirshenbaum bond & partners. “The majority of other communications companies are rushing to acquire, create or align themselves with PR firms. We’ve been growing our pr/promotions department in-house organically for nine years. Now is the right time to offer this expertise to outside clients.”
While the focus is likely to be on marketing public relations, Lime will also offer corporate reputation and internal communications services.