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Toth Adds PR Unit

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After nearly 20 years as a force in retail and fashion advertising, Toth Brand Imaging is expanding by forming a public relations unit.

The division, named Brand Building Public Relations, will be helmed by Valerie Donati, who has represented Toth at independent PR shop Epaulette & Associates, New York, for four years.

Some clients and staff from Epaulette are being folded into Toth as founder Suzanne Kramer leaves to pursue other interests. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The five-person PR division will be headquartered in the New York offices of Concord, Mass.-based Toth. Joining Donati from Epaulette are account manager Dianna Vays and account executive Christine Chiu, along with two part-time staffers.

Epaulette has created PR campaigns for Samsonite, Ray Ban and Movado Group. During her seven year's there, Donati fashioned publicity efforts for Kwiat and Indian Motorcycle, both of which are Toth clients. Donati also brings PR jobs from Purple skirt.com and ENK International. "We always took a branding approach to PR," Donati said. "My ultimate desire is to work at a fully integrated agency."

Toth's ad and PR units intend to pursue "lifestyle" clients for combined chores. It is hoped that Brand Building will refer new and potential clients to Toth and vice versa.

"We sell a complete branding experience, and PR is a part of that," said Toth COO Dick Emerson.

The shops have already begunpitching business together, and Donati said she hopes to expand the division's client offerings to include teen and home goods marketing.

Toth claimed billings of more than $70 million in 2000.