Meningitis body to boost awareness

The National Meningitis Trust is talking to advertising agencies about running an awareness campaign, following recent out-breaks of the disease.

A budget has not been set but the trust is hoping for an award from the National Lottery to fund it.

Spokesman Jason Blackburn says the campaign will be aimed at 16 to 24 year-olds, who are particularly susceptible to meningitis, along with very young children and over-55s.

“We want to raise awareness among this age group about the symptoms and dangers of meningitis through a cinema campaign and possibly posters,” he says.

Provisional figures from the Public Health Laboratory indicate that in 1995 there were 1,361 cases of meningitis and 185 deaths. The previous year there were 148 deaths from the disease.

Richards, the Sears fashion chain for older women, is looking for an advertising agency following Stella Hartley’s appointment as sales and marketing director this week.

Hartley, who has helped with the Richards revamp as marketing director of Sears Womenswear, says the chain has been involved in “early discussions” with ad agencies.

It will be the first move into above-the-line advertising for the 170-strong chain, which was bought from Storehouse in 1992 for 30m.

A budget has not been finalised for the advertising but an agency could be appointed by April.

In the past three years, Richards failed to shake off its “frumpy” image because its core market comprises women aged between 35 and 54, says Hartley.

She had started revamping the Richards’ brand while at Sears Womenswear.

Hartley plans to review the whole brand with the idea of test-marketing a store outside London before rolling the concept out nationally later in the year.

“I think a lot of women are unclear about Richards. I plan to carve a more distinct image for the chain,” she says.

Hartley’s role at Sears Womenswear is not being filled. Penny Robinson, general manager of Outfit, is replacing Richard Newman as general manager of Richards later this month.

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