Credit crisis diary: A parting of the ways for Lloyds and its PR

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The Independent Online

The banking crisis has had its fair share of scapegoats and here's another one. Lloyds Banking Group, humbled by its disastrous acquisition of HBOS, has parted company with Finsbury, its PR adviser, after eight years. A spokesman for the bank explains that it simply decided to ask rival agencies to pitch for the account in a periodic review. "Finsbury has chosen not to participate, which we understand," the Lloyds man adds. What he doesn't know is that the doyen of financial PR companies has found another banking client to advise. Watch this space.

Early start for the minister

Expect the Government to sharpen up its communications strategy on the banking crisis. Spotted breakfasting yesterday at the posh Mayfair eaterie The Wolseley, the City minister, Lord Myners, was deep in conversation with Steve Sharp, marketing director at Marks & Spencer. The two once worked together at the retailer, and Mr Sharp no doubt had some suggestions for how the Government could better sell its message. Looks like Lord Myners was keen to get on with it: the two had dined, paid the bill and left by 8.25am.

Drinking till they drop

The former Virgin Money boss Rowan Gormley has come up with a novel idea for beating the credit crunch. His new venture, Naked Wines, is holding a wine tasting at the Australian High Commission tonight, which will endeavour to share out a A$100,000 order for wines from down under. Members of the public will choose their favourite tipples at the tasting before Rowan invites the winemakers back in Oz to offer their best prices in a price auction. Let's hope someone stays sober enough to run the event.

Get your kit off for the ads

Which "major airline" wants 999 people to take their clothes off to help with a marketing campaign it is running? The airline, which isn't identifying itself – but is offering a prize of two free flights to Europe as an incentive – is asking people to register online for the event, to be held a week on Sunday in central London. Our money is on Virgin or Ryanair – both renowned for PR stunts – but we may be wrong.

Give this lot a wide berth

The credit ratings agency Moody's has published a list of almost 300 American companies that it thinks may be about to default on debt repayments. It titled the report "Moody's US bottom rung", but crueller market wits have dubbed it the "lepers list".