Red Flag Consulting

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Red Flag is a public relations (PR) company with offices in London, Dublin, Brussels, Washington DC and Cape Town.1 Alongside companies from the biotechnology, food and alcohol industries, its client list includes British American Tobacco (BAT) and the Consumer Choice Center (CCC).

In July 2021, Red Flag acquired International Business-Government Counsellors, a US lobbying firm that specialises in “providing technical advice to large corporate companies on trade legislation.”2

Background

Founded in 2013 by Karl Brophy in Dublin, Ireland, it offers services such as coalition building and grassroots mobilisation, reputation management and political engagement.34 Brophy was previously a partner in PR company Hume Brophy.5

Red Flag’s spending on EU lobbying in Brussels alone amounted to between EU€335,000 and EU€699,999 in 2022. As of April 2022, it has twelve EU lobbyists, six with European Parliament accreditation.6

In 2021, Red Flag acquired Washington lobbying firm International Business-Government Counsellors (IBC).7

Relationship With The Tobacco Industry

British American Tobacco (BAT) has been a client of Red Flag since at least 2017, according to the EU Transparency register.8910116

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC), which has received funding from BAT among other tobacco companies, has been listed as a Red Flag client since 2020.10116

In 2018, Red Flag lobbied the Irish Government on behalf of PJ Carroll, an Irish BAT subsidiary, on e-cigarettes and smoking cessation.121314

Red Flag maintained the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) website between December 2019 and April 2022. 1516 WVA was set up by, and receives funding from, CCC. According to an investigation by Le Monde and The Investigative Desk, Red Flag was involved in WVA’s “Back Vaping. Beat Smoking” campaign, which saw a branded van visiting major European cities including Geneva during the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP 9). The investigation describes Red Flag’s speciality as setting “up movements that seem to be grassroots-oriented, but are not.”17 In response, Karl Brophy told the Business Post in July 2022 that WVA was no longer a client of Red Flag, and the relationship had been brief.18

Relevant Links

TobaccoTactics Resources

References

  1. Red Flag, Our locations, undated, accessed August 2022
  2. M. Paul, Red Flag expands lobbying operation in Washington DC, The Irish Times, 7 July 2021, accessed September 2022
  3. Red Flag, Our services, undated, accessed 11 February 2020
  4. Red Flag, Our Team: Karl Brophy, undated, accessed October 2021
  5. C. Hancock, Light thrown on media group, Irish Times, 12 |May 2011, accessed October 2021
  6. abcRed Flag, EU Transparency Register, 6 April 2022, accessed August 2022
  7. M. Paul, Red Flag expands lobbying operation in Washington DC, Irish Times, 7 July 2021, accessed October 2021
  8. Red Flag, EU Transparency Register, 13 April 2017, accessed October 2022
  9. Red Flag, EU Transparency Register, 5 June 2019, accessed October 2022
  10. abRed Flag, EU Transparency Register, 3 February 2020, accessed October 2022
  11. abRed Flag, EU Transparency Register, 2 February 2021, accessed October 2022
  12. Red Flag Consulting Limited, Red Flag Consulting Limited, Irish Standards in Public Office Commission Register of Lobbying, last accessed 11 February 2020
  13. Red Flag Consulting Limited, Red Flag Consulting Limited, Irish Standards in Public Office Commission Register of Lobbying, 21 May 2018, accessed 28 February 2020
  14. Red Flag Consulting Limited, Red Flag Consulting Limited, Irish Standards in Public Office Commission Register of Lobbying, 21 May 2018, accessed 28 February 2020
  15. World Vapers’ Alliance, Privacy Policy, 10 August 2020, accessed March 2021
  16. World Vapers’ Alliance, WhoIs record, accessed March 2022
  17. S. Horel, The Vapour Trail, Le Monde, 3 November 2021, accessed March 2022
  18. B. Whyte, Group with links to Big Tobacco rows in on flavoured vapes ban, Business Post, 23 July 2022, accessed September 2022
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