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Internet Edition, March 22, 2000, Page 1


BSMG Worldwide next month will launch a $50 million+ PR, PA and ad campaign for a coalition of life science companies to promote genetically modified foods as safe and not harmful to the environment.

Members of the group, which does not yet have a name, include DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis, BASF, Dow, Aventis and AstraZeneca.

There has been widespread concern and even "hysteria" in Europe over such foods. One object of the drive is to prevent such a reaction in the U.S.

BSMG wouldn't discuss specifics of the campaign, referring questions to coalition members.

Cathy Forte, VP-global PA at DuPont, said the firm was picked because it has previously worked with companies and trade groups in this area. A three to five-year campaign is planned.

American consumers have thus far shown little interest in the genetic food debate, said Brian Sansoni, spokesperson for the Grocery Mfrs. of America.  It's a "blip on the radar screen," he said.

Charles Margulis of Greenpeace said the drive was a sign of desperation. The biotech industry "has its back against the wall and it's going to throw money at PR and other efforts," he said.


The 50 largest PR operations, based on documentation received by the O'Dwyer Co. from 35 firms and reports on another 15 supplied by the Council of PR Firms, billed $2.8 billion in 1999.

Burson-Marsteller continued as the No. 1 PR operation with $274 million in fees, up 6.3%, but Fleishman-Hillard overtook it as the biggest U.S. firm by growing 33% to $181M in U.S.-only fees.  B-M was up 16% in U.S. revenues to $164.8M.

The top 50 billed $2.26B in 1998 but the two figures are not comparable because of mergers and new firms added to the list plus new sources of income being counted by CPRF member firms.

CPRF rules allow members to include commissions from issue and corporate ads, research, and other PR-related sources to a limit of 49% of the total. O'Dwyer rules ask firms to limit such commissions, profits and mark-ups to 7.5% of the total.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, using CPRF rules, had the biggest gain in the top ten, up 58.8% to $125M. Next biggest top ten gainers, also using CPRF rules, were GCI Group/APCO Assocs., up 41.5% to $112.7M, and Shandwick, up 41.1% to $240.2M.

Brodeur Spun off at $70M

High-tech specialist Brodeur Worldwide, formerly part of Porter Novelli, was spun off as a separate unit billing $70M. Despite the loss of the unit, PN reported a gain of 17% to $214M. Both use CPRF rules (denoted by an asterisk in the ranking list).

PN billed $45.8M in 1995.

Fleishman-Hillard, following the O'Dwyer rules, grew 32.8% to $213.4M in worldwide fees.

Rowland Worldwide, using CPRF rules, spurted 53.5% in 1999 to $49.7M after being down 5.4% in 1998 to $32.4M and up 5.8% in 1997. It billed $41.9M in 1988 and employed 614 (vs. 277 now).

Omnicom was again the biggest owner of PR firms, its PR fees totaling about $700M (PN, F-H, Ketchum, Brodeur, GPC, Lois Paul, and Cone). GPC, based in Canada and with many affiliates in Europe which are being acquired, billed about $35M including about $6M in the U.S. Omnicom units had $497M in fees in 1998. Interpublic controlled $411M in fees, up from $313M in 1998 (Shandwick, Weber, Golin/Harris and Access).

High-tech firms again were the big gainers.

Weber PR Worldwide grew 30% to $101M and 11th place with 556 employees ($182K per employee).

Waggener Edstrom, which handles Microsoft and other high-tech clients, was up 23% to $50.5M; Text 100 grew 47% to $36.8M; Cunningham Communication 14% to $23.3M; Schwartz Communications 40% to $21M; Lois Paul & Partners 20% to $16.2M; FitzGerald Communications 50% to $13.4M; Middleberg 119% to $11.3M; Access Communications 54% to $10.5M; Hoffman 24% to $8.7M; Neale-May & Partners 102% to $8.2M; Applied Communications 100% to $8.1M, and Wilson McHenry Co., 21% to $7.8M.

CPRF did not supply the PR trade press with employment totals or other backup to the dollar figures of members. The 15 CPRF member firms in the top 50 only gave information to the CPRF.

Jack Bergen, CPRF president, said some members obtained statements from CPAs or had other documents and these would be given to the press at some point in the future.

CPRF does not collect W-3s, top pages of income tax returns or "agreed-upon procedure" statements of firms, relying instead on statements of CFOs or management of the individual PR operations.

  Ad Age Stopped Collecting Documents

Bergen noted that Advertising Age stopped demanding CPA statements in ranking 700+ ad agencies. AA started asking for such documents in the 1980s after some firms were found to be falsifying their gross incomes (the 10-15% in commissions collected on billings).  The magazine denounced Ted Bates & Co. in 1986 for damaging its rankings for years by reporting 15% of its billings rather than the true gross, which was closer to 10%.

Bates had a worldwide gross of $329 million in 1985 and not the $466M it reported, fumed AA.

Also castigated was Della Femina, Travisano & Partners for allegedly kiting income by 100%. Jerry Della Femina said, "I freely tell people that we bill 'a greatly exaggerated $250M' when asked." He added that padding was rife in ad agency billings figures. AA at that time said it would fight this attitude by insisting on CPA-verified statements.

AA, which began taking numerous measurements of ad agency income (its current questionnaire is six pages long and has 200+ line items), now relies solely on statements by CFOs and/or other members of agency management.

Besides ad billings and gross income, AA measures billings by nearly 20 types of media; sales promotion income; direct marketing, many types of website activity; trade shows; business-to-business, catalogues, etc., and asks for U.S. and int'l totals.

Although the O'Dwyer rules ask for complete account lists so the press can locate PR firms handling accounts and clients can check for conflicts, several major firms have been reducing their public lists in recent years. Hill and Knowlton identified 18 clients this year although it once listed hundreds of clients.

Alex Martins, 35, resigned as VP-communications and PA for the Cleveland Browns. Martins, who joined the team in 1998 after 10 years with RDV Sports/Orlando Magic, is weighing opportunities...Meryl Pearlstein, 20-year travel publicist, to Nancy Jo Friedman PR, New York, from KWE Assocs., where she was group director. Friedman recently signed; Great Eagle Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong, and Brasserie Gaby, new restaurant opening June 20 in the Hotel Sofitel, New York.

Cutco Cutlery, Olean, N.Y., with sales of $125M, named Ruder Finn for a two-year campaign, replacing Stanton Crenshaw Communications. The pitch was directed by Mary Trudel, EVP of RF*s marketing communications group...Cold Stone Creamery, Scottsdale, franchiser of ice cream and frozen yogurt stores, to BRW LeGrand, Denver. The firm has 85 outlets in 16 states and plans to add 250 more by the end of 2001...Del Webb Corp., Phoenix, to Blaze Co., Venice, Calif. for PR for four of its Sun City retirement communities.

Internet Edition, March 22, 2000, Page 2


The April issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which is due out in two weeks, has an article that says PR women are the most sought-after females in Silicon Valley

The writer, Nancy Jo Sales, says the high tech industry, which is 30% women, is "very dependent on PR and people who work in PR tend to be women, and the women tend to be attractive—it’s almost part of the job description."

Sales said Internet billionaires Steve Ballard and Steve Case each married company executives from the PR/marketing department.

Jean Villanueva, former VP of communications for America Online, married Case, the company’s CEO, and Connie Snyder, formerly on the Microsoft PR team of Waggener Edstrom, married Ballard, Microsoft’s president/CEO.

"All the real babes work in PR firms," Sean Garrett, who is PR director for start-up, told Sales. "You see a lot of dating between industry guys and PR girls," Garrett is quoted as saying in the article.

Susie Marino, 32, who runs a PR firm with her sister, are featured in the article.

One source—who asked not to be named—said the Marinos, who specialize in dot-com clients, are called "PR bunnies."

"She [Susie] throws the best parties," he says.

"PR is the most important thing you have in an Internet company," said Francois-Xavier Nuttall, the CEO of AudioSoft, "because that’s how you attract investors and the Marino girls are becoming the most important PR company to have."

Marino told Bazaar that industry parties go on all the time. "Some women show up in what the PR girls call ‘boob dresses.’ They get on the circuit and start working the geeky Internet guys."


The New York Stock Exchange is characterized as a dinosaur by the March 20 New Yorker, with other electronic exchanges making it obsolete.

"Just about everywhere but in New York, stock trading has become an electronic enterprise transacted via computer rather than face to face," says the four-page article by Elizabeth Kolbert. "The new trading systems that are being unveiled practically every month all employ the latest Internet technology in lieu of human contact."

Over the last few years, the London, Paris and Frankfurt exchanges have abandoned their trading floors.

A new trading operation was launched just last week. Archipelago, an electronic network with links to the Pacific Stock Exchange, will compete for business from the NYSE.

The NYSE also faces heightened competition from the NASD, which plans to raise fresh capital through an initial public offering.

Amidst all this, the fortunes of the NYSE may be waning. In its latest financial results, the NYSE said it lost $800,000 on $184.3 million of revenues. This compares to net income of $7.4M on $187.8M of revenues the same period a year before.

"At pretty much every juncture since its inception, the members have resisted any sort of change that might adversely affect their livelihoods," the article states. Ray Pellecchia, a spokesman for the NYSE, disagreed with the article.


Steve Tobia, co-owner of the now-bankrupt Pacific/West Comms. Group, is seeking $586,000 as reimbursement for expenses as a result of his lawsuit against the Calif. Dept. of Transportation.

Tobia put his firm under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998, claiming it was caused by a downward turn in its client base stemming from his dispute with Caltrans, a major client.


The Columbia Journalism Review has criticized The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel for not telling readers that columnist Cynthia Moxley is president of Moxley Carmichael, a local PR firm.

"Although the `special to the News-Sentinel’ feature carries her byline, it offers no hint of what’s really behind those breathless plugs for, among other organizations she represents, the TVA, the Knoxville Utilities Board, and First Tennessee Bank," said CJR.

Moxley said the thing that surprised her the most about the report was that CJR never called her or the paper.

As a result, the magazine got three things wrong.

"First, they spelled the name of the column wrong (‘It is ‘Strolling’); secondly, TVA has never been my client, and third, the column runs every other Tuesday, not weekly."


In dismissing Metabolife’s lawsuit against WCVB-TV, Boston, a federal judge undercut PR consultant Michael Sitrick’s claim that the station had broadcast a misleading excerpt from an interview with a doctor.

Metabolife, a client of Sitrick’s firm, sued WCVB, its reporter Susan Wornick, and Dr. George Blackburn, after the ABC affiliate aired an excerpt from an interview with a doctor who alleged that people can die from taking Metabolife’s diet pills.

Robert E. Hillard, 82, who co-founded Fleishman-Hillard in 1946 and retired in 1982, died March 14 at his home on Spring Glen Lake in Caledonia, Mo.

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Hillard teamed with Alfred Fleishman to found F-H in St. Louis.

He continued to run the firm until 1974, when he turned over the reins to John D. Graham.

Internet Edition, March 22, 2000, Page 3


More than 150 travel writers and 250 travel exhibitors have registered to attend the first Travel Media Showcase, which is scheduled for June 11-14 in Atlantic City.

Karen Aarons, who was formerly EVP of the Miss America Pageant for 10 years, is producing the show for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.  Lois Gerber, a Secaucus, N.J.-based travel PR consultant, is handling media recruitment.

The objective of the show is to allow travel pros to have one-on-one meetings with writers.  Each   exhibitor has been asked to come to the show with at least "five headlines" to pitch to writers who visit their booth, said Aarons.

Several travel workshops and outside speakers are also planned.

The opening day speakers are John Berendt, author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," and Jenny Stacy, who handles media relations for the Savannah, Ga., area convention and visitors bureau.

"We wanted to get someone, like Berendt, who has had a major impact on tourism," said Aarons.

Writers will be offered free lodging, meals, and special airline rates, but they are required to put down a $100 "good faith" deposit, which will be refunded after they attend the meeting.  The ACCVA plans to hold the show on an annual basis for the next three years.

Additional information is available at

PEOPLE _____________________________

Fred Biddle, a reporter for the Los Angeles bureau of The Wall Street Journal, has joined Sitrick and Co.

Karen Talley, previously a reporter for American Banker, has joined J.R. O?Dwyer Co.'s editorial staff.

Judith Crown, 46, was promoted to managing editor of Crain's Chicago Business, and Joseph Cahill, 40, previously a reporter in The Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau, has rejoined as assistant managing editor.

Other new staffers include: Sandra Jones, 36, previously with Bloomberg News to associate editor, covering technology and telecommunications; Amanda Milligan, 34, named Internet reporter, contributing primarily to, and Kathleen Schmidt, 47, a writer at American Marketing Assn. magazine?named research editor.

Colin Moore, previously with the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, has joined Outdoor Life in New York, as executive editor, succeeding Ed Scheff.

Art Scheck, formerly editorial director and editor of Fly Tyer magazine, has joined OL as features  editor, replacing Bob Brown.

Roy Johnson is leaving Fortune to join Honey, a new magazine for African-Americans.

Joel Dreyfuss is also leaving Fortune to become editor of Urban Box Office, an Internet firm.

Jim Windolf, who was executive editor of The New York Observer, has joined Vanity Fair as senior articles editor, replacing Ned Zeman.

Havanna Laffitte was named fashion director of Nylon magazine, and April Hughes, former market editor for Elle, was named senior fashion editor.

Steve Garbraino, previously style director for US magazine, has joined the "Style" section of The New York Times as a reporter.

PLACEMENT TIPS _____________________

Barbara Rose, who covers technology news for Crain's Chicago Business, has begun writing a new weekly technology column, called "Tech Watch."

Steve Daniels, who was a reporter at Investment News, was assigned to cover real estate, and Kevin Knapp was given the manufacturing and transportation beat., an interactive, video-based New York lifestyle website, will launch May 1.

The website's founder, Doug Kilzer, who previously was at Kratz & Jensen, a PR firm, is seeking press kits and information about New York restaurants, events, shopping, entertainment, performances and any other lifestyle-type stories.

Heidi Sacko, also a former K&J publicist, who is now a freelance writer for Bon Appetit and other publications, is assisting Kilzer.

148 Madison ave., 5th fl., New York, NY 10016.  212/252-0352; fax: 1457; [email protected].

Fortune has named Henry Goldblatt, 29, editor of "First," the magazine's lead section.

Goldblatt, who has rejoined the New York staff after nine months in Fortune's San Francisco bureau, covering technology, has to pull together 15 pages every fortnight, combining late-breaking news, opinion pieces, and cartoons., an E-commerce site which will launch May 1, is being developed by Freedom Communications, a chain of 28 newspapers, which is based in Irvine, Calif., in partnership with Lewitt & LeWinter, which publishes Mode and Girl magazines.

The new website will offer merchandise and apparel for full-figured women.

A.G. Britton, who was editor of Mode and continues to contribute monthly features to the magazine, is editor-in-chief of

Britton said features will be created exclusively for the Web and will differ from what is offered in Mode magazine.

A preview of the site shows such features as the top 10 trends for spring, beauty trends and short items on health and books.

Internet Edition, March 22, 2000, Page 4


Entertainment Weekly and People have added new editorial features that have a fashion and beauty peg.

EW's new two-page feature called "The Scout" will report on what's new and next, and what's in and out.

People has expanded its "Style Watch" section to three pages, up from one, and added a celebrity-studded fashion column called "Behind the Seams," written by Steven Cojocaru.

US, which went weekly on March 17, plans to devote nine to 11 pages a week to coverage of fashion and beauty news. Susan Kaufman, who is creative director, will edit USWeekly's fashion coverage.

Vanity Fair has a new entertainment section called "Fanfair."

The nine-page section uses a format that reminds some observers of Spy, the monthly humor magazine that is no longer published.

The section, which lampoons personalities, also covers books, music and travel, and it has an "out & in" page, which was a staple of Spy.

Graydon Carter, who is VF's editor-in-chief, was a founder of Spy.


An analysis of the nearly 12,000 usages for DWJ projects in 1999 shows stations are still looking primarily for news you can use.

DWJ said medical stories accounted for 34% of the hits and 33% of the audience, followed by consumer stories at 26% and 24%,

High-tech stories about computers and the Internet ranked third at 13% and 96.6 million viewers or 13% of the total, according to DWJ's report.

General interest stories, such as the auction of Marilyn Monroe's dresses, were popular, along with financial stories that affected consumers.

More than half (53%) of the airings were in the top 50 markets, DWJ's analysis shows.

Early morning shows emerged as the biggest users of DWJ stories closely followed by the early evening shows from 4 to 8 p.m., which traditional led in usages.

A new medication for pain topped DWJ's list of stories with the most airings in 1999.

The story aired 588 times and made 62.7 million viewer impressions, DWJ reported.

The second ranked story also involved medicine: animal trials of a new vaccine to prevent nicotine addiction, and Christie's auction of Marilyn Monroe's gowns and other memorabilia was the third ranked story with 542 airings and 32.4 million viewer impressions.

DWJ said seven computer stories finished in the top 25 with IBM's "Computer on a Chip" at the top of the list and in eighth place overall.  


The owners of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times have signed an agreement to combine the two companies.

The Tribune will pay approximately $8 billion to acquire the Times from the Chandler family.

A press release issued by Hill and Knowlton's Chicago office said the combined company will be one of the largest providers of interactive news and information services in the U.S. and the largest multi-media company in four of the nation's five most populous states--California, New York, Illinois and Florida.

The Tribune, which owns several TV and radio properties, including WGN, interactive sites, and the Chicago Cubs, also publishes The Chicago Tribune and daily newspapers in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

The Tribune has a daily circulation of 654,000, while The Los Angeles Times has a circulation of 1,098,000, making it the third largest daily newspaper in the U.S. behind USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Besides the Times, Times Mirror also publishes Newsday, The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.), The Advocate (Stamford, Conn.) and Greenwich (Conn.) Time.

The company also publishes several consumer magazines, including Field & Stream, Popular Science, Golf and Outdoor Life.

Mark Willes, who is CEO of Times Mirror, said he will leave after the deal is completed.

Willes, who had no previous newspaper experience, was hired in 1997 to rebuild the company's newspaper properties.

He closed New York Newsday, and the Evening Sun in Baltimore.

He also initiated several cross-marketing schemes that some news staffers believed were unethical.

MEDIA BRIEFS _________________________

The Wall Street Journal Sunday, a four-page section of personal finance features, is running in the business sections of 16 Sunday newspapers.

It recently was added to these six papers: Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Ft. Worth (Tex.) Star-Telegram, Providence (R.I.) Sunday Journal, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, The Record in Hackensack, N.J., The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, Greenwich (Conn.) Time and Stamford (Conn.) Advocate.

The Newseum may move to a larger facility in downtown Washington, D.C.

The 75,000 sq. ft. facility on Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn, Va., has attracted nearly 1.5 million tourists since it was opened in 1997 by the Freedom Forum, which was established by Al Neuharth, the former Gannett chairman.

The museum features exhibits that pay tribute to journalists.

Internet Edition, March 22, 2000, Page 7

Internet Edition, March 22, 2000, Page 8

The O'Dwyer "Top 50" PR firms is up on the site although we lack the customary proofs for 15 of the PR operations.

Our rules are too "onerous" for the firms to follow, says the Council of PR Firms, which mailed its own rules to 5,000 PR firms and has now ranked 199, keeping backup materials to itself for the moment.

Here's what's behind this power play.

The biggest PR firms, operating in many cities in the U.S. and abroad and which are in all or most of the 11 specialty areas (high-tech, financial, healthcare, etc.), can spend tens of thousands of dollars and even $100,000+ getting their "Big Five" CPA firms to do "agreed-upon procedures" sanctioned by the American Society of CPAs (confirming number of employees, numbers on income tax statements,  W-3s, leases, etc.).

These 15 PR operations, almost all of them now subsidiaries of ad agencies, don't have their own income tax returns and W-3s.

However, more than 99% of the PR firms operating in the U.S. (10,000+ according to the Yellow Pages), have such documents readily available.

Many high-tech and healthcare specialist firms have only one office and one specialty so that supplying back-up documents is easy for them.

More than 160 firms have done so this year for the O'Dwyer rankings, in spite of having an easy way out. They see no "onerous" problem in doing their rankings and many have told us so.

What the few large members of the CPRF have done is solve their own problem on the backs of the smaller firms.

They would have the entire PR counseling field resort to self-supplied figures despite numerous surveys (including those by PRSA and Porter Novelli) saying companies and their spokespeople have low credibility.

Advertising Age, which was burned many times by falsified ad agency billing claims, started requiring CPA statements back in the 1980s. However, AA stopped getting these statements and no doubt there was pressure from the agencies. AA's ranking form, meanwhile, got hugely complicated–six pages with 200+ line items.

The big ad agencies now want the same carte blanche in the PR field. However, our form is only one page and requires documents that are readily available to most firms. These documents have helped bring credibility to the O'Dwyer PR rankings for 30 years and we'll continue to ask for them.

Porter Novelli, represented on the CPRF board by Robert Druckenmiller, could have been No. 1 (by CPRF rules) if it had not spun off Brodeur last year. PN by itself reported $214.8M in fees while Brodeur had $70.1M or a total of $284.9. This would have topped Burson-Marsteller's $274.6M...PN, which had $45.8M in fees and 451 employees in 1995, has grown 469% in four years, making it by far the fastest growing large agency in the history of PR...PN was called "a marketing firm" by the Jan. 12, 2000 Wall Street Journal and Druckenmiller has also said marketing suffuses everything that the firm does...a number of figures supplied by the CPRF are still being checked out. One firm reported $7M in fees for 1999 to the CPRF after being on the O*Dwyer list for 1998 with $2M in fees and 35 employees...the CPRF board has been headed since its founding by Dave Drobis of Ketchum. Both Ketchum and PN are Omnicom  agencies.

The Harper's Bazaar article (click here for story) saying high tech PR is using a lot of attractive young women to lure clients is only the latest on this subject and there are bound to be more (see 1/12 and 1/26 NLs).

Business, media, the movies, etc., are all pressing the sexual button as hard as they can because it brings in money. Sports Illustrated*s "Swimsuit" issue has little to do with sports or showing off swimwear and lots to do with showing off bodies. Greenwich Time editor Joseph Pisani, in a column March 17, noted the impossibility of keeping his four daughters protected from an ocean of sexually suggestive messages. PR's reaction to these charges thus far is mostly outrage that anyone could suggest sexuality plays any role in the business. PR counselor Sue Bohle, however, has asked the business not to be defensive on this topic nor ignore the input.

The $398,000 spent on website building by IABC last year is a prodigious amount and should be explained to the membership. Web experts tell us a blue chip company might spend such a figure. Our experience is that high-priced web companies abound and will charge to the hilt if allowed. The first quote for an O'Dwyer website was $98,500. An employee purchased an off-the-shelf web builder for $120 and hired a web server to host the site for $40 a month. Working gradually with a web "geek" we built a large site for tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the IABC is so tight-lipped about its site now, why have a site at all if major information issues are going to be ducked? The "let's play our cards close to the vest" attitude is anathema to the web culture.



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