HexBugInnovation First, the US manufacturer of robotic toys HEXBUG has appointed Smoking Gun to handle its PR. The account was previously held by Cohn and Wolfe in London.

Cohn and Wolfe handles the account in the States but it is understood that in the UK, the company was seeking a smaller boutique agency to handle its PR affairs.

The brief encompasses a mix of digital marketing, consumer and trade media relations, experiential activity and celebrity seeding.

Smoking Gun’s owner Rick Guttridge told Prolific North that following ‘chemistry’ sessions with several agencies, five agencies were short-listed with just three agencies finally asked to present.

Although some of the big toy brands have moved their PR accounts from Manchester in recent times, the city has had a long history of handling major toy brands out of Manchester with Mason Wiliams, Brazen and Citypress all handling national and international brands over many years.

Guttridge added that the company was now seeking fresh public relations support ahead of the launch of four major new product lines for the Christmas sales period.

Head of marketing at HEXBUG, Heather Corbett, said: “We sought a hands-on agency who really understands both our target audiences and who also ‘get’ us as a business and why we’re so different to any other manufacturer.”

Several of HEXBUG’s toys can be seen in this You Tube clip

Other Smoking Gun clients include Red Bull, Abellio/Merseyrail, Harrison Hetherington Group, MySocialPetwork and Valour Finance.