Edition, April 12, 2000, Page 1
BLASTS SOME HIGH-TECH PR
six-page article in the May issue of Red Herring magazine,
which will go on newsstands next week, says high-tech companies
are being "fleeced of huge fees by PR firms."
by staff writer Kenneth Neil Cukier says that with many
high profile firms turning away client prospects at the
rate of 20 or more a week, a "second tier" of
firms has sprung up "offering little more than a stale
E-mail list and a gaggle of interns to place pestering follow-up
As a result,
"reporters feel besieged and clients feel cheated,"
said Cukier. This is the latest in a series of negative
articles about high-tech PR. The initial blast came
last November when Soft-letter polled 91 journalists about
PR and received comments such as "the quality has sunk
to unbelievable lows" and "Trinket Know-nothings"
have overrun the field.
inventor Charles Ferguson said in a book published in January
that the rank-and-file of PR is "completely dominated
by attractive young women," a strategy pioneered by
Regis McKenna and his "army of Regettes."
The april Harper's then wrote five pages about PR women
seeking millionaire execs in Silicon Valley. The New
York Times on April 10 did a front page article on single
women seeking rich "geeks" in Palo Alto.
Herring article, part of a 480-page issue, said some firms
charge clients full fees for travel time; unnecessarily
change press kits, and charge for creation of press lists
that already exist. Interviewed were execs from Alexander
Ogilvy, Fleishman-Hillard, Waggener Edstrom, Brodeur Worldwide,
and Niehaus Ryan Wong.
BUYING RESEARCH FIRM, S.A. PR FIRM
paying more for one company than it did for 55 acquisitions
in 1999, is buying NFO Worldwide, Greenwich, Conn., research
firm, for about $580 million in stock. It spent about $515M
in cash and stock for all its acquisitions in 1999. NFO
stockholders are expected to approve the deal April 21.
NFO has 3,300 employees and 3,000 clients worldwide. It
lost $6.2M in 1999 after a profit of $14.5M in 1998. Revenues
soared 66%, reflecting acquisitions and currency translation
has purchased Nueva Comunicacion, Buenos Aires, described
as the largest PR firm in South America with 70 employees
and $10M in billings. Clients include Coca-Cola, Unilever,
McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Citibank and Telefonica de Argentina.
ASBESTOS FIGHT LOOMS
Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, which is lobbying to
limit asbestos liability, has hired Goddard Claussen Porter
Novelli, Washington, D.C., for an ad campaign.
which produced the "Harry and Louise" commercials
credited with helping defeat the Clinton healthcare proposal
in 1994, has launched a $300K-$400K inside-the-Beltway campaign
for the Coalition.
is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and GAF Corp.,
which The Washington Post said have spent more than $7 million
since 1997 to get a bill passed that would limit lawsuits
against former asbestos producers.
ads blame "asbestos lawyers" for clogging courts
and preventing compensation to asbestos victims before they
bill which passed 18 to 15 by the House Judiciary Committee
last month would limit the financial exposure of former
asbestos producers, and set up a federal agency to evaluate
claims. The Senate version of the bill appears to have bipartisan
Council for Biotechnology Information is
the name given to the coalition that will do an ad/PR campaign
for genetically engineered crops (3/22
NL). Members include Monsanto, DuPont, Novartis and
Dow Chemical. BSMG Worldwide is handling a $50 million+
PR, PA and ad campaign. One TV spot shows the sun setting
over a farm and has shots of doctors, children and farmers.
There is upbeat music and a narration about the promise
of biotechnology. The April 10 New Yorker had a lengthy
article on Monsanto, noting that biotech has aroused heavy
opposition in Europe. Biotech can backfire by making undesirable
as well as desirable plants resistant to pesticides, the
Nielsen, VP-CC at the New York Times Co.,
is leaving after 14 years to head the Globalization Project
of Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions. She
is succeeded by IR director Catherine
Mathis, 46, who was at Overseas Shipholding
Group and International Paper before joining the Times in
1997...David S. Fuhrman,
38, VP of The Weber Group, S.F., to Porter Novelli Convergence
Group as a senior manager. Marc
Bien named SVP of Weber/S.F. Bien
joined Weber last August from Burson-Marsteller, L.A...Ken
Herz, 18-year Chase Manhattan VP, to Mellon
Financial Corp., Pittsburgh, as dir., CC.
Edition, April 12, 2000, Page 2
LEADS ANTI-BRANDS MOVEMENT
author, Naomi Kleins new book, "No Logo: Taking
Aim at the Brand Bullies," has made her a spokesperson
for the anti-corporate youth movement. The 29-year-old writers
book has been on the Canadian best seller lists since its
publication in January, a few weeks after days of protests
in Seattle forced the cancellation of the World Trade Organization
who mixes activism with analysis, has been touring the
university speakers circuit, filling university auditoriums,
and she recently started writing a column for The Toronto
Globe and Mail.
war on modern corporations boils down to a central theme:
As companies marketing budgets become more and more
lavish, they maintain profit margins by farming out manufacturing
to sweatshops in the poorest corners of the globe, "
said James Brooke, a reporter for the New York Times.
is participating in debates in New York before going to
Washington, D.C., where protestors are getting ready to
demonstrate at meetings of the World Bank and the International
also plans to attend another meeting of the World Bank and
the IMF, in Prague in September.
No Logo, Klein demonstrates how brands have become ubiquitous,
not just in media and on the street but increasingly in
the schools as well.
said the global companies claim to support diversity, but
their version of "corporate multiculturalism"
is merely intended to create more buying options for consumers.
Klein talks about how easy it is for retailers like Wal-Mart
and Blockbuster to "censor" the contents of videotapes
and albums, she also considers the role a corporate conglomeration
plays in the process. How much would one expect Paramount
Pictures, for example, to protest against Blockbusters
policies, given they are both divisions of Viacom, she asks.
also looks at the workers who keep these companies running,
most of whom never share in any of the great rewards. She
discusses the tactic of hiring "permatemps" who
can do most of the work and receive few, if any, benefits
like healthcare, paid vacations, or stock options.
believes a backlash against the brands has set in. Street-level
education programs have taught kids, for example, not only
about Nikes abusive labor practices but about the
astronomical markup in their prices.
to a report in The New York Times (April 3), one of Kleins
grandfathers, a Marxist, was fired by Walt Disney for trying
to unionize the animators of "Fantasia."
Times said her parents left the U.S. in the late 1960s
to protest the Vietnam War, her mother becoming a "feminist
filmmaker and her father, a doctor, a supporter of Canadas
national health system."
MOST MERGERS GET BAD PRESS
study conducted by GCI Group found five of the largest global
mergers in 1998 and 1999 attracted more negative news coverage
(47.1%) than positive coverage (32.7%).
of the coverage in major news media focused on trouble in
meshing corporate cultures and other employee relations
five mergers studied were British Petroleum and Amoco; Citicorp
and Travelers; Daimler-Benz and Chrysler; Deutsche Bank
and Bankers Trust, and Exxon and Mobil.
studies have chronicled the challenges of getting a merger
or acquisition to perform up to expectations, according
A.T. Kearney study found of 115 global mergers between 1993
and 1996, 58% of the deals failed to create substantial
returns for shareholders.
Mercer Management study reviewing all mergers between 1990
and 1996 found nearly half "destroyed" shareholder
study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that of
97 acquisitions from 1994 to 1997 worth $500 million or
more, two-thirds of the buyers stock dropped at the
PRO RAPS POLITICAL CONSULTANTS
Ashford, chairman/CEO of the Hawthorn Group, an Alexandria,
Va.-based PR firm, said political consultants are unethical
when they divulge confidential information about their clients.
said the American Assn. of Political Consultants has a rule
that states members will "respect the confidence of
my clients and not reveal confidential or privileged information
obtained during our professional relationship."
states his views in an opinion piece that ran in the March
19 edition of The Washington Post.
said he was "troubled" by the report that Sen.
John McCains consultant, Mike Murphy, agreed to give
frank interviews to the Posts Howard Kurtz during
McCains presidential run, but no story could be published
until the campaign was over.
more I read, the more the story bothered me," said
Ashford, who has been a consultant to many Democrats, including
Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. John Glenn, and Sen. Claiborne
said Murphy is "only the latest of a collection of
consultants and staff members to engage in this game of
Stephanopoulos and Stan Greenberg, who were consultants
to President Clinton, had committed "far more serious
violations of trust and confidence" than Murphy, said
think official Washington needs to have a frank conversation
about this trend. It is spiraling toward being a threat
to our political soul.
a world where your lawyer, accountant or any other professionals
you hired felt that it was acceptable to give every detail
to everybody once the court case, tax cycle or business
relationship was over," said Ashford.
Edition, April 12, 2000, Page 3
STARTS CONSUMER WEBSITE
PR pro and author Leonard Saffir is CEO of CelebrityStores.com,
a website for consumers that will feature an array of celebrity
news and merchandise.
said the Boca Raton-based site, which is scheduled to be
launched in May, will be packed with the latest news, information
and profiles as well as CDs, DVDs, videos and licensed merchandise
linked to the stars of films, TV, Broadway, music and sports.
said the three major stockholders in CelebrityStores are:
e-Integrators, Beber/Silverstein & Ptrs., a Miami-based
ad agency, which also owns JGR PR, and Plexus Interactive,
also based in Miami.
editorial content will be supplied by Streaming Media, a
company which resells stories from more than 500 media outlets,
ranging from The Associated Press to Rolling Stone to The
New York Times and USA Today.
offices will be located at 3020 North Military trail in
Boca Raton. An editor and other news staffers are currently
being interviewed for positions. Currently, the company
has an office at 1515 S. Federal hwy., Boca Raton. 561/479-2969.
Communications, an 11-year-old PR firm in Boca Raton, is
handling publicity for the new website. Tilson is
also a stockholder of the company.
Press Syndicate will start distributing
April 15 a package of fashion content from www.FashionWire
Daily.com, an Internet-based news service that was started
six months ago by Branduso Niro, who also owns North American
Publicity, a New York-based PR firm.
Newswires Press Room website (www.
prnmedia.com) has a new "Money Beat" section
featuring breaking news, trade show and conference information
and financial news from Asia, Australia and Europe.
17,000 journalists use the PRN Press Room, which was started
as a free service in late 1997. It offers other specific
sections covering the automotive, technology, travel, energy,
retail, entertainment, sports, media and finance industries.
The Oprah Magazine, makes its nationwide
debut on newsstands April 19. The first issue has
166 ad pages and the second (July/August) issue has 125
ad pages. The magazine, which is a co-venture between Hearst
Magazines and Harpo Entertainment Group, will go monthly
Kunes, editor-in-chief, said the magazine will target women
25-49 year olds with articles about health, relationships,
finances, beauty, fashion, fitness and celebrities.
who is editorial director, will appear on every cover for
the foreseeable future, said Kunes.
offices are at 1700 Broadway, NYC.
magazines have gotten credit from the Office of National
Drug Control Policy for including anti-drug
messages in their articles.
magazines named by Salon are: U.S. News & World Report,
The Sporting News, Family Circle, Seventeen, Parade and
which recently reported a similar arrangement in the TV
industry, said the drug policy office never read the articles
before publication in deciding whether to grant a credit
and never influenced editorial content in any way.
a plan that began in 1997, the drug control office was authorized
to spend up to $1 billion over five years in TV and print
ads against drug use. For every ad bought by the office,
the publication or network would run a public service ad.
Media organizations could ask that an article that included
a strong anti-drug message be used as a substitute.
Leo, president of the American Society of Magazine Editors,
said she saw nothing wrong with the arrangement.
Weiner, a spokesman for the anti-drug office, said no news
articles were given credit, just feature articles that stress
that children should not use drugs.
is reevaluating Joe, its custom-publishing venture with
Time, after three issues that registered lukewarm sales.
Pictures Digital Entertainment and Primedia
have agreed to combine their two soap opera websitesSoapCity.com
provides coverage, updated daily, for 10 daytime dramas
and is also the official site for Columbia TriStar properities
like "The Young and the Restless" and "Days
of Our Lives."
live webcasts feature weekly celebrity chats, fashion and
style reviews, up-to-the minute news and its new e-commerce
Soap Opera Digest magazine also features celebrity profiles,
soap synopses and the stars views on such topics as
parenting, food, fashion and beauty.
San Francisco, is buying Gaywire News Network, which delivers
breaking news releases and information provided directly
from gay and lesbian companies and organizations.
Elderkin, president/COO of Gay.com,
said Gaywires online distribution network will be
expanded to the existing base of 2,500 website affiliates.
a healthcare information website which was
started in June 1998 by former Surgeon General C. Everett
Koop, may not have enough cash to continue operations beyond
the next 12 months, according to its auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Edition, April 12, 2000, Page 4
ST. JOURNAL NAMES NEW EDITOR
Wall Street Journal named Stephen Adler as a deputy managing
editor, and John Brecher is leaving as Page One editor.
responsibilities will include coordination with The Interactive
Journal, and the Journal's investigative team. He
makes the third deputy mng. editor who reports to Paul E.
Steiger, managing editor. The others are Daniel Hertzberg
and Byron Calame.
whose replacement has not yet been named, plans to write
a wine column with his wife Dorothy Gaiter.
F. Gloede was elevated from editor of Mediaweek
to group editor of Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek
Dunnavant was named editor of Adweek Magazines'
special reports/Mediaweek Features; Michael
Burgi was named managing editor, and James
Cooper was appointed news editor.
Dennis was named exec. editor of MC, Adweek
Magazines' monthly computer publication.
Orsini was made editor of IQ, the interactive
supplement of Adweek Magazines, and Kipp
Cheng was named news editor.
Kilpatrick was named director of photography
for Teen People magazine, and Christine
Duvulo is now photo editor of Teen People
Steuer, previously a reporter for The Hollywood
Reporter and Women's Wear Daily, is now executive editor
of Interview magazine.
Boo of The Washington Post, Sam
Roe of The Toledo Blade and Willy
Stern of The Nashville Scene were awarded
1999 medals by Investigative Reporters and Editors for their
Oliva, previously U.S. bureau chief of Editorial
Atlantida, an Argentine magazine publisher of nine weekly
publications, has joined People En Espanol as associate
editor. He will oversee the editing of primary features
of the magazine.
Mukherjee, previously executive editor at
Notorious magazine, has rejoined Vibe as music editor. Mukherjee
will conceive, assign, and edit the magazine's music stories,
secure covers, and will work on planning the magazine*s
overall editorial content and style.
Kwon, who was a reporter for TheStreet.
com and Newsweek, has joined FSB: Fortune Small Business,
as a writer. Arlyan
Gajilan, who edits "Livewire"
and features, was promoted to senior writer. Carlye
Adler, former reporter for Institutional
Investor, was moved up from writer-reporter to writer.
TODAY.COM HIRES ED-IN-CHIEF
Wilson was named editor-in-chief of www.USAToday.com.
He was formerly editor of daily news at Congressional
will be responsible for editorial content on the website,
which has nearly 15 million unique monthly users, according
to the publisher.
Napoli, who is the Internet correspondent
said a publicist pitched her a story about a new print version
of Nerve.com, asked her to recommend former colleagues
at The New York Times who might be interested in the story,
and then a few hours later asked her to hold the story to
let The Wall Street Journal have an exclusive.
surprised me that the caller was so brazen and careless
with his tidbit of information, and didn't stop to think
that his request might be insulting," said Napoli.
really seeing the Journal and the Times as competition to
my job here on TV and on the Web, and feeling sorry for
the begging man, I said okay," said Napoli, who did
not identify the publicist.
Napoli changed her mind after she saw the new magazine,
called Nerve, was being promoted on the company's website.
story ran March 31, three days before The Journal's report.
story also discloses Nerve.com dropped its PR agency, RLM
PR, and started its own in-house agency in February. "They
claimed they were doing so, according to one report, because
of 'frustrating' experiences with firms," said Napoli.
The publicist who asked her to hold her story was
hired away from RLM to head the new PR department, according
to Napoli, who said RLM*s managing director said the publicist
had "just five months' experience."
Cramer, the hedge fund manager who co-founded
which is up for sale, is glad to be back at New York magazine
as its "Bottom Line" columnist.
who left four years ago, says E-zines cannot hold a candle
to the old media.
like to be read by my peers on Wall Street, and I like to
be read by the people where I live...it's driving me nuts
I lost those great audiences..." he says in an editor's
note in his first column since returning.
York, which has 800 members, has launched
a website at www.niriny.com.
and PR professionals can exchange ideas in an open forum,
providing advice, insight and critiques of hotels, meeting
venues, transportation services and IR program strategies.
highlights include: programs and event calendar including
online registration; educational opportunities through forums
and seminars; latest chapter news; links to other sites,
and membership details.
Edition, April 12, 2000, Page 7
IS "LOOSE FEDERATION"BW
Week April 3 devoted two pages to the biggest owner of PR
firmsOmnicomcalling it an "empire of happy
fiefdoms" and a "loose federation of agencies,
'Net firms, and niche-marketing outfits."
(OMC) owns PR firms that have PR fees totaling $700
million, about $300M ahead of the next biggest owner,
competitor called OMC "a conglomerate of all
these isolated parts" and asked why OMC exists
at all "if it's not adding value to its parts."
noted that the firm likes to keep a low profile. Wren
has rejected invitations to speak at the American
Assn. of Adv. Agencies and similar groups.
John Wren, pictured above, described as "shy
about taking the spotlight," responded that 85
of the top 100 OMC clients used three or more company
units in 1999, up from 12 in 1993.
BW analysis, emphasizing the revenue and stock price growth
of OMC, is the most searching piece on the company since
Christopher Byron did one for MSNBC April 25, 1997.
was much harsher on OMC than BW.
said the firm had a "weak and strained balance sheet"
and predicted that its "balance sheet games" would
one day "catch up with it."
pointed out at that time that OMC's current liabilities
of $2.8B exceeded current assets of $2.4 billion. As of
Dec. 31, 1999, liabilities of $6.0B exceeded assets of $4.7
billion. A $400M gap had grown to $1.3 billion.
was also worried about the $1B in intangibles at the end
of 1996, which are being deducted off earnings but not taxes
over a 40-year period (which Byron thought was far too long
have now grown to $2.4B on total revenues of $5.1B. Since
stockholders' equity is $1.5B, OMC has a negative net worth
most annoyed Byron was OMC's habit of turning the media
and other suppliers into "banks" by holding onto
money due to them.
the end of 1996, OMC was owed $1.54B by clients but owed
media $2.05Ba $514M gap.
the end of 1999, payables exceeded receivables by $754M,
which is more than the $576M in cash that OMC had on Dec.
bright spot on OMC's balance sheet is "long-term investments."
This rose from $4.9M to $785M as of Dec. 31, 1999, based
on OMC's ownership of Agency.com and other Internet companies.
BW said OMC's dot-com stakes are now worth $2.5B+.
Has Stronger Balance Sheet
Group of Cos., whose revenues were $4.5B in 1999, had current
assets of $5.7B and current liabilities of $5.6B. It owed
media $4.5B while clients owed IPG $4.3B. Cash totaled $981M.
Stockholders* equity was $1.628B and intangibles were nearly
the same at $1.657B. IPG had $717M in investments.
OMC and IPG continued their acquisitive ways in 1999. OMC,
which owed half of its growth in 1998 to acquisitions, bought
the rest of affiliate Abbott Mead Vickers of the U.K. for
stock worth $545M. AMV was said to "bill" $1.6B
which, at 15% commission, would be a gross of $240M.
cost of this and "several" other acquisitions
in 1999 was $748M in cash and stock with intangibles totaling
$489M. OMC has been asked for a list of the acquisitions,
size and types of business, and price paid (when the price
is public record).
acquired 55 companies in 1999 for $180M cash and 8,393,893
shares (worth $335M at IPG's current stock price of around
$40). IPG has been asked for a similar list of these acquisitions,
which are not described in any public or stockholder document
issued by IPG.
and Knowlton, which was previously sued
for its work many years ago for the Tobacco Council, is
part of a $3.4 billion lawsuit by the Healthcare Assn. of
New York State and 147 private hospitals. The suit seeks
to recover payments to Medicaid and Medicare patients...Saatchi
& Saatchi and Young & Rubicam, which
own major PR operations, are the subject of biting comments
on Yahoo. com message boards. SSA (its stock symbol) is
said to be "desperate to cut a deal with Grey Advertising."
YNR has attracted
negative comments partly because its stock recently plummeted
from $73 to $40. One message said the firm is "in total
disarray" and its only hope is that WPP will buy it.
"There's hardly ever any news of the firm," said
one critic. A message on Omnicom
said, "It seems like a lot of creative people are leaving."
message wondered if the 900 layoffs from IPG's merging of
two ad units to form Lowe Lintas might touch off age discrimination
suits. There are also positive messages on such boards,
some of them supplied by corporate spokespeople...Troy
Aikman, Dallas Cowboys quarterback, married
former Cowboys PR staffer Rhonda Worthey April 8...the
boards of PRSA and the Institute of PR (U.K.)
had a historic first meeting April 5-8 in London but no
stories or press releases were posted on either of their
websites as of April 10. PRSA has not had a press relations
person since last September...the
Council of PR Firms has budgeted $100K to measure the effectiveness
of PR, it was announced April 3 at a meeting
of the Institute for PR's commission on PR measurement at
American University, Washington, D.C. Wirthlin Worldwide
has been named to develop "PR Outcome Models."
CPRF chair David Drobis called the effort "a landmark
National Investor Relations Institute's
annual conference and IR services showcase will be held
June 12-14 in San Francisco. Walden (Wally) O'Dell, president/CEO
of Diebold International, will open the conference and discuss
IR as a corporate strategy."...Business.com,
a Santa Monica-based Internet business directory and online
resource for business info, has named Golin/Harris/Los Angeles
Edition, April 12, 2000, Page 8
rare and mostly positive look at the ad conglomerate Omnicom
is in Business Week 4/3.
OMC is the biggest owner of PR firms ($700M+ in fees or
about 15% of its business), the firm is almost pathologically
shy. After four years at the helm, CEO John Wren has yet
to address a major ad meeting.
rationale of the No. 1 owner of ad agencies, which we heard
before Wren took over, is that the attention should
be on OMC's hundreds of "brands" or agencies and
not on OMC itself.
refrain was, "We're only the holding company."
However, we don't buy that. The real reason OMC lies low
is the usual oneit has too many embarrassing things
it would rather not talk about.
owes media more than clients owe it! How can that be? What
happened to the money? How old are these payables? Is it
running its business on other people's money?
half of its growth (1998) is in acquisitions (paying far
too much for them according to financial writer Christopher
Byron), how long can it keep this up? It's now buying suppliers
such as a speakers' bureau and volatile web builders. Few
big ad agencies and PR firms are left to buy.
and No. 2 conglomerate Interpublic are mostly buying agency/client
relationships. But a client can walk from one of these agencies.
The PR firm or ad agency that has "sold" that
relationship has rarely asked the client's permission.
can and do walk. Three of the four founding partners of
the hot high-tech PR firm of Copithorne & Bellows ($26.7M
in fees in 1998) have just left the OMC empire. They're
all in their 40's or early 50's and could conceivably get
is expensing the cost of the PR firms over 40 years, a long
time considering the staff turnover in PR. Recruiter Lisa
Ryan says the top firms have a turnover of 30% a year, one
agency hit the 80% mark and 100% turnover is not unheard
just combined two ad shops, Lowe & Partners and Ammirati
Puris Lintas, to form Lowe Lintas. Some 900 staffers or
7% of the total of 13,000 will be dropped. Squashing firms
together a few years after they're bought is routine practice.
spent $748M in cash and stock to acquire an unspecified
number of ad/PR firms in 1999 and IPG spent $515M
to acquire 55 companies, say their stockholder materials.
We have asked for lists of these companies and other details
since very little about them is in their shareholder reports.
and IPG like to talk about their companies in terms of numbers
but these must be taken with a large grain of salt.
The question is, what is behind the numbers? Also, certain
measurements and ratios are stressed while others are virtually
ignored. Earnings releases go out to the press but never
releases on balance sheets, which show debt, payables, receivables,
intangibles, etc. In addressing stockholders and the ad
community, OMC and IPG regularly refer to new business wins
in terms of "billings" only a few sentences after
talking about their gross incomes (thereby mixing apples
and oranges). For instance, the IPG annual report says its
gross rose to $4.5B in 1999 and it had net new business
wins of "approximately $1.8B." That sounds like
a lot until you realize the gross was about 10% (if that)
of the billings. The copy should read IPG gross rose to
more than $4.5B and net new business wins totaled $180 million.
of adulterated numbers, that brings up the mess many of
the OMC and IPG PR firms have made of the PR industry rankings.
In a collective act we feel is a violation of the Sherman
Antitrust Act, conglomerate-owned firms such as Porter Novelli,
Hill and Knowlton, Ketchum, Rowland and Weber are allowing
up to 49% of their fee incomes to be in advertising commissions.
Yet this ranking is trotted out as a ranking of PR firms.
The legitimate PR media, because of a collective action
by the Council of PR Firms, are blocked from collecting
CPA and other proofs from the big firms. Thus far OMC and
IPG have sat idly by while this statistical rape has taken
place. No matter what OMC and IPG say about their subsidiaries
being independent, parents are responsible for their children.
perceived assault on consumers' minds called "branding"
has caused a backlash in the form of the book "No Logo:
Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies" (click
here for full story). Brands, which are instilled in
the minds of target audiences by ad campaigns and other
means following extensive psychological research, are a
form of "collective hallucinations," according
to author Naomi Klein, a Toronto consumer activist. Her
theme is that with cheap foreign labor producing so many
goods these days, the giant companies have more to spend
on mind control of their audiences.
says Western consumers are targets of "Big Brother
Branding" and that her generation has grown up "completely
under the marketing microscope." According to Klein,
corporate watchdogs are demanding a citizen-centered alternative
to the "international rule of the brands."