A MAN who used to work with the Spice Girls has joined a local charity's marketing team.
George Brewer, who also worked with Bryan Ferry and Peter Gabriel when he was at Virgin Records, has joined the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust as digital marketing manager.
Closer to home, he spent seven years with the English Riviera Tourist Board.
He has been appointed as digital marketing manager for the trust's three sites — Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.
He brings to the post a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for digital communications.
"I built my first website 10 years ago. For the past two years I have been working as a web designer and online marketing consultant. I'm Google qualified in search engine marketing."
George is clear on his aims: "I want to raise the online profile of Paignton Zoo, Newquay Zoo and Living Coasts and to raise the public's awareness of the good works the three zoos do, such as conservation projects and environmental schemes."
George was born and raised in Newton Abbot and educated at Wolborough Hill School, Newton Abbot, Oundle School in Peterborough, Torquay Tech and Salford College of Technology. He has a long connection with the Bay.
He said: "I've been visiting the zoo since I was a schoolboy, and worked a few summers hiring out pedalos on Preston Beach.
"I spent 10 years in marketing and PR at Virgin Records in London, working closely with artists ranging from the Chemical Brothers to the Spice Girls, followed by seven years at the ERTB, again in marketing and PR.
Pippa Craddock, director of marketing and development for the charity, said: "We recognise that marketing has changed in recent years, with a greater emphasis on digital marketing channels.
"We started with launching our websites and developing our social media marketing, but as it is such an important part of the marketing mix and a specific skill, we need someone who has the knowledge and the passion for digital."
George knows something of the organisation he is joining: "I've visited Paignton Zoo frequently over the years and have seen it develop into a wonderful environment for animals, plants and visitors.
"I am also a big fan of Living Coasts and love the way you can get so close to the animals.
"On a professional level, I had already worked with the organisation and knew what a focussed and passionate body I would be joining."
"This is a great place to work — there's an upbeat atmosphere, there's lots going on — and where else can you see crocodiles and rhinos in your lunch hour!"