Contact O'Dwyer's: 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page
Return to NL Archives Index


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 1


Creamer Dickson Basford, a member of the French-owned Havas Advertising Group, has been merged with three other firms to form Magnet Communications, which has 244 employees handling $30 million in fees.

Darryl Salerno, 47, chairman and CEO of CDB, will hold those posts at Magnet.

Also part of the firm are Kratz & Jensen, $7.6M New York firm with branches in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, and which has just been acquired by Havas; ACG Communications, New York, which specializes in interactive communications, and Capstone Communications, Emeryville, Calif., specializing in business-to-business Internet software.

The names CDB, K&J, ACG and Capstone will not be used by the new entity.

One project client of the former CDB is Vivendi S.A., French water utility and telecommunications firm which is the largest owner of Havas.

Magnet is part of the Havas Advertising/Diversified Agencies Group/North America. Euro RSCG, under which CDB formerly operated, is another part of Havas Advertising.

The former CDB, headquartered at 350 Hudson st., has signed a 15-year lease for 45,000 sq. ft. at Chelsea Market at 75 Ninth ave. Rents in the former Oreo cookie factory are in the mid-$40s. This will be the h.q. of the new group.

CDB, which has not taken part in PR industry rankings since 1988, has 81 employees and fees of nearly $10 million, a spokesperson said. CDB claimed $20.1 million in fees and 250 employees in 1988.

Clients of the new group include Bayer, Carrier, Elizabeth Arden, IBM, Sony, Pfizer, Fortunoff, Hearst, and Lucent.

G.M. Basford Was First Unit

The former G.M. Basford Co. was the original building block of CDB, dating to 1935. It handled industrial PR and advertising. By 1969, it became a subsidiary of Coordinated Communications.

Sally Dickson Assocs., headed by Sally Dickson and Joyce Clarke, joined Basford in 1971 to form >Dickson-Basford.

Creamer Dickson Basford was formed in 1976 as a unit of Creamer/FSR, an ad agency headed by Donald E. Creamer. At that point CDB had 40 employees and $1,576,000 in fees. It was the 20th largest firm in the O'Dwyer PR firm rankings.


Vivendi, which is acquiring Seagram Co. for $35 billion, may sell its interest in Havas Advertising early next year.

Vivendi Universal, which is the new company formed by the merger, will be the single largest shareholder in Havas, which owns several ad/PR firms, including the newly established Magnet Communications in New York, but its 20% stake will be diluted to about 10% due to Havas' acquisition of Snyder Communications and the redemption of bonds, according to Advertising Age.

Havas also owns Euro RSCG Worldwide, which operates several firms, including the recently acquired Middleberg & Assocs.

"Long term we are not an asset for them," Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman/CEO of Havas Advertising, told AA.

Celebrity PR firm PMK, the secretive PR powerhouse, is profiled in detail in a 27-page chapter of Dish by Jeannette Walls that is reprinted in full on with permission of Walls and HarperCollinsPublisher.


Hill and Knowlton's bid to link payment ofor its services to stock performance has drawn the ire of several IR pros.

H&K/Washington, D.C., announced a new "results-based" method of charging in which it wil share the "risks and rewards" of its work for clients.

Included in the release was this sentence:

"For example, marketing clients with H&K can base their payment for the firm on stock performance, brand name recognition, or a significant increase in sales."

Said Louis Thompson, president and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute:

"We strongly recommend to IR people that they never base their compensation on stock prices."

(continued on page7)

Internet Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 2


Martin Sorrell told WPP Group's shareholders at the 28th annual meeting in London last week that the company's worldwide revenues rose more than 18%. By sector, PR and PA jumped nearly 45%, as compared to advertising, which was up about 16%, led by Ogilvy PR Worldwide, whose revenues were up more than 80%, said Sorrell.

"The Group as a whole is well ahead of last year and operating margins are improving in line with our objectives," said Sorrell, who noted the group's financial strategy continues to be focused on increasing operating profit by 15-20% per annum.


Claudia Ann Kirschhoch, a travel writer/editor for Frommer's Travel Guides, New York, has been missing since around May 28 from the Sandal Resorts' Beaches Negril Resort hotel in Jamaica.

Kirschhoch, 29, was a member of a group of four, who had planned to go on a press trip to Cuba, hosted by Sandals Resorts International, a chain with 10 hotels in the Caribbean. The company has been promoting trips to Cuba.

The other writers on the trip were Tania Grossinger, a New York-based freelance writer, and Chris Janos, a freelance writer from Chicago, who was traveling with a companion.

The trip was organized by Leo Lambert, PR director of Sandals Resorts, based in its Jamaica office.

Patrice Tanaka & Co., a New York-based PR firm, which usually handles press trips for Sandals, was not involved because U.S. firms are not allowed to promote trips to Cuba, according to John Frazier, EVP/COO of PT&Co. and head of its travel group.

Beth Corwin, who handles the Sandals account for PT&Co. in New York, was sent to Jamaica on June 22 to provide media relations assistance.

Gordon Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts, who also owns the Jamaica Observer, has made this story front page news every day since Kirschhoch disappeared.

Jim Margolin, an agent in the FBI's New York office, who is handling press inquiries about the disappearance, is the husband of Nancy J. Friedman, who owns a PR firm that specializes in travel PR.


Two New York firms-Kekst & Co. and Abernathy MacGregor Group-handled PR for Paris-based Vivendi, and Montreal/New York-based Seagram.

Vivendi made it official June 20 at a press conference in Paris and New York that it will buy Seagram for about $34 billion in stock.

The shared PR arrangement, which was unusual, ran "very smoothly,." a PR pro told this Newsletter.

Kekst served as the "neutral" firm for both companies, and worked on the logistics of the merger, while AMG was the primary point of contact in the U.S. for media news coverage.


Thomas P. Bartle Jr., 60, a principal of the executive search firm of Wesley, Brown & Bartle, New York, died June 16 of lung cancer.

Wesley Poriotis, also a principal of the firm, which handles some PR searches but mostly helps veterans to find jobs after leaving the service, said Bartle was deeply committed to helping minority groups.

Bartle co-founded The Center for Military and Private Sector Initiatives, which helps military veterans to adjust to the private sector. Tony Watson, CEO of the Center, said Bartle, a veteran of the Air National Guard, "showed his passion and commitment" to military veterans.

Bartle joined WB&B in 1984 after being EVP with the former Carter Organization.


Cranky tech executives, unhappy PR pros and disgruntled journalists are invited to a full day seminar July 11 at The Golden Gate Club in San Francisco.

Deborah Branscum, a contributing editor at Newsweek and Upside magazines, who created the conference, called Buzz 2000, said it is designed to address high tech media relations problems.

"Smart PR pros don't flood reporters with generic spam. Journalists are drowning in it," said Branscum. "Meanwhile, the best publicists I know are wrestling with clients who don't appreciate the huge effort needed for effective PR. And execs I meet are angry over paying big bucks for PR that may produce very little coverage."

Conference sponsors include Newsweek,,, and Tobi Designs.

Among the speakers lined up are John Markoff, of The New York Times, Steven Levy and Brad Stonem, Newsweek and Sharon Cleary, The Wall Street Journal. Info.:


A record attendance is expected for the 2000 IPREX Summer Conference in New York next month, which will be hosted by Makovsky & Co.

Ken Makovsky, president/CEO, was a founding member of IPREX (International PR Exchange), which is comprised of 32 U.S. firms and 47 firms from other countries.


Playing hooky from work does not bother Carol Fass, who runs a five-person PR firm in New York, or California publicist Elizabeth McRae Smith, who encourages her employees in San Diego and San Francisco to sneak away.

"It's a terrific perk to let them take a `mental health day,'" Fass told Lisa Belkin, who writes "Life's Work" column for The New York Times.

Smith, who runs The McRae Agency, which specializes in PR for Internet start-ups, told Belkin that she will close business on a whim and take everyone shopping or on a drive along the coast for margaritas.

Internet Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 3


Rochelle Udell, who was editor-in-chief of Self magazine for four years, was named president of Fairchild Internet, a new venture.

Udell will oversee the company's Internet strategy and platforms for business-to-business portals, starting with Women's Wear Daily Media Worldwide.

She also will be responsible for creating Internet businesses for each of the company's trade titles, which include DNR, Home Furnishings News, Salon News, Children's Business, Footwear News and others, and serve as the primary liaison to CondeNet, which is developing Fairchild's consumer magazine websites under, CondeNet's fashion portal.

Fairchild's consumer magazines include Jane, W, and Details. currently houses

Mary Berner, president/CEO of Fairchild Publications, said Fairchild Internet will bring together the power of Fairchild's reporting and clout with the marketers, advertisers and manufacturers.

Udell has been senior VP/brand development at The Limited since August 1999.


Cahners Business will launch Broadband Week along with a companion website,, on Sept. 1.

Bill Menezes, who was editor of the broadband section within Cahners' Multichannel News, was named editor of BW. He will continue to be based in Cahners' Highlands Ranch, Colo., offices.

Multichannel News will replace the section with a new broadband-oriented technology section for the cable TV industry.

The new BW will cover the latest developments in the field of broadband communications, offered by telephone service providers, cable operators, wireless and other delivery media. Initial circulation will total 55,000 subscribers.

BW will address hardware and infrastructure issues as well as a variety of new products and services.

Business, education and entertainment products offered via the Internet, cable and over-the-air channels, including two-way interactive applications, will be covered.

MEDIA BRIEFS ________________________________

BET Weekend, a Sunday supplement magazine aimed at African-American readers, has been closed.
Vandguarde Media, which took control of the magazine in February from Black Entertainment TV, also closed Weekend's sister publication, Emerge. Vanguarde plans to start a magazine in January with editorial content that reflects both publications.

Editor & Publisher moved to 770 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10003-9595. The new general editorial phone number is 646/654-5270.

Time will start a U.K. edition of In Style magazine. Circulation of the U.S. edition has almost tripled to 1.3M since it was started in June 1994.

WWD will make its publishing debut on Oct. 30. The magazine will cover fashion news, gossip, business deals and designers. Ed Nardoza is editor, at 212/630-3592.

Negocios Bloomberg, a nationally syndicated Spanish-language business report in the U.S., which was launched in Nov. 1998, won the New York Press Club's best in business award for its personal finance reporting. The one-minute reports air three times a day on WPAT-FM in New York and on 27 radio affiliates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Edgar Ortega is segment producer.

Yahoo! Internet Life, a monthly consumer Internet magazine published by Ziff Davis Media, will increase its rate base from 900,000 to 1M beginning in September.

PEOPLE ________________________________

Sara Forden, former Milan bureau chief for WWD and currently editor-in-chief of L'Una, an Italian magazine, has written a book about the Gucci family's fashion empire entitled, "The House of Gucci, A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed." It will be in bookstores in August. The book is being published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.

Rudolph Pyatt Jr. has retired as a business reporter for The Washington Post after 19 years.

Jennifer Greenstein, previously a senior writer at Brill's Content, has joined the New York bureau of The Industry Standard magazine to cover publishing and media on the Internet. 212/497-2615.

Kate Moodie, previously style director at Redbook and senior editor of beauty, style at Glamour, has joined YM as style director.

Robin Wunsh was promoted from senior sittings and shoe editor to executive fashion editor at Mademoiselle.

Jennifer Pinto, previously PR manager for Prada USA Corp., has joined Allure magazine as market editor, covering American markets.

Dorothy Nelson was named beauty editor at TeenStyle magazine.

Cecilia Wessner, 42, was promoted to editor-in-chief of Popular Science Magazine, based in New York. Wessner joined PS in 1990 as managing editor, and was promoted to executive editor in 1994.

Lisa DiCarlo, 31, formerly a senior editor at Ziff Davis Publications, was named senior editor of

Internet Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 4


Lisa Miller was named society editor of Newsweek, and David France was named senior editor and writer in the "Society" section.

Miller was previously at The Wall Street Journal where she had covered religion since 1997. She was also an editor for the "Marketplace" page (1993-94) and was a travel reporter (1994-97).

Since 1998, France, who has been a reporter for 15 years, has been national affairs editor of Glamour magazine. Both join the magazine at the end of July and will be based in New York.


Gerry Gartenberg, who does media training for Internet companies and their CEOs who are getting ready for TV interviews, said publicists can no longer rely on "novelty" when pitching dot-coms.

"The sell of being a dot-com is fading fast," according to Gartenberg, who believes dot-com publicists must now address certain fundamentals just like publicists for brick and mortar companies.

He said the pitch should answer these questions: How does your dot-com stand out? Where did the motivation come from--besides making money? What's special about your top players? Do they know how to sell a story? What can they say that will truly resonate with consumers or B2B customers? Does the pitch make sense-will it stand up to tough scrutiny?

Gartenberg also has identified five common dot-com "red flags" that, unless avoided, can work against media success during an interview. They are:

1. A tendency to "hard sell" the site instead of selling via a newsworthy, interesting message.
2. To talk much about hardware, not enough about consumer/business needs.
3. To overlook key reporter needs and clues that could help dot-coms mediate reporter relationships in their favor.
4. To be ill-prepared for vulnerable issues that can stunt credibility if not handled with media savvy.
5. To focus on profit potential, instead of core business attitudes.
Gerry Gartenburg Productions is based in New Rochelle, N.Y.

BRIEFS _______________________________________

James Murdoch, who is Rupert Murdoch's son, and CEO/chairman of News Corp.'s Star TV satellite TV service, and Kathryn Hufschmid, a PR executive, were wed June 17 in Lyme, Conn. The couple is moving to Hong Kong where Star TV is headquartered.

Murdoch's sister Elisabeth, who recently resigned from the family-owned BSkyB, a TV company, is expecting a child. The father is Matthew Freud, a British PR pro.

Michael H. Stanton, 31, editor of The Bond Buyer, and Elizabeth S. Roy, 31, a senior writer for, were recently married.

Legal Times, a weekly newspaper, has started a biweekly newsletter and daily website, called Influence, that will focus on the business of lobbying in Washington, D.C., ranging from firm assignments and earnings to business strategies and mergers.

Widmeyer-Baker Group, Washington, D.C., has hired former Time magazine associate editor Susan E. Tifft as senior counsel. Tifft, who has been teaching a journalism course at Duke Univ., is married to Alex S. Jones, a former reporter for The New York Times, who hosted PBS radio's "Media Matters."

Internet Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 7

IR PROS RAP H&K cont'd
Under the NIRI definition of IR, the goal of IR pros is to increase the public's understanding of a publicly held company, whether or not this raises or lowers the price of a stock.

"An accurate portrayal of a company's performance and prospects" is the goal of IR, according to the NIRI "Standards of Practice for IR" booklet.

Theodore H. Pincus, CEO of Financial Relations Board/BSMG Worldwide, the largest IR specialist, said his firm has always worked strictly on fees not connected with the price of stocks.

"We would not want Wall Street to think that FRB's IR pros had a personal axe to grind in connection with any stock," he said. Staffers are also forbidden to buy or own stock in any client. "We deal with lots of inside information," said Pincus.

Torie Clarke, general manager of H&K/Washington, D.C., who announced the new policy, said H&K staffers are not allowed to own stock in a client.

Asked about the NIRI policy against fees based on stock performance, Clarke said, "I think the most honest and ethical approach you can take is to have as transparent and accountable a relationship as possible with your clients."
The PR Society of America's code says members "shall not guarantee the achievement of specified results beyond the member's direct control."

Clarke, formerly president of Bozell/Eskew BSMG Worldwide, D.C., said that the new H&K contract is not a "guarantee," but an approach that "demystifies the business. It shows up front and close how we run our business and make our money."

New H&K Policy Described

The H&K release said H&K/Washington was "raising the bar for customer service" by offering clients results-based contracts and on-time, on-budget guarantees.

"Clients want exceptional service and results, and most PR firms pledge just that," said Clarke, adding, "Unlike the rest of the industry, H&K will back those words with real action. H&K enjoys an outstanding reputation for client satisfaction, and these new policies will drive home a distinct competitive advantage."

The "results-based" contracts will establish stronger bonds between H&K and its clients, it was further explained.

"Under the contracts, H&K will base its compensation for work on the success of projects it performs. By entering into results-based contracts, we'll share the risks and rewards, thus forming true partnerships," said the release.
It noted that such contracts are increasingly used in advertising.

H&K/Washington, it was said, will calculate its payments by objective, subjective or a combination of measures. If the firm doesn't deliver documents or materials on time, it will reduce its fees for the documents involved by 15%. Costs that go over budget will be absorbed by H&K.


The International Assn. of Business Communicators is investing $1 million in an "e-business initiative" rather than merely a new website, PR counsel Wilma Mathews told this Newsletter.

The IABC initiative, having run out of funds for further development, is "on hold" and members have been asking for further details.

Mathews, a past chairwoman of IABC and director of PR, Arizona State University, said the $1M that has already been spent covered "market research and business plan development, which includes functionality and technology architecture scoping. The investment also covered purchase of software providing content management and infrastructure that has an emphasis on customization, personalization and one-to-one marketing with web users," she said.

Constructing an e-business, she added, "is like building a large, state-of-the-art house. IABC had opted to construct this `house' with its own funds but found that membership-the single largest funding source-was less than projected. So we've put the construction on hold but have not lost the benefit of investments to date. When funding is secure, we'll continue construction."

She noted that IABC chair Dave Seifert has said the group is committed to its "visionary and aggressive e-strategy but must re-work timelines and funding sources." For the short term, she added, IABC will make some improvements in its existing website including e-commerce capabilities and other features.

"IABC is committed to building an electronic community that is unsurpassed in our industry," Seifert has said.

McQuade Attacks Cost

George McQuade, an IABC member and a PR counselor in the high-tech field based in Canoga Park, Calif., said there seems to be "at least the appearance of secrecy" over the new website.

"Was it put up for bids to construct it?" he asked. He said he does not recall any solicitation for bids either on IABC's current website or in any of its publications.

He said he could have designed such a site, "hosted it, and provided animation and discussion groups for one third of the cost."

He also asked IABC president and CEO Elizabeth Allan whether there are plans to take ads on the site and what the cost of the ads will be.


Publicis, French-owned ad/PR conglomerate, today announced the purchase of Saatchi & Saatchi for about $1.7 billion.

S&S is selling three offices of its Rowland PR unit to Edelman PR Worldwide. They are in Hong Kong, London and Sydney and employ about 80 people handling nearly $9 million in fees. The deal is expected to close at the end of June.

The main Rowland office remaining is in New York and has an estimated $12-$15M in fees.

Publicis and S&S said the merger will create the fifth largest ad/PR group after WPP and Y&R ($6.7B); Omnicom ($5.7B); Interpublic ($5.1B), and Havas & Snyder ($2.4B).
Publicis/S&S will have $2.1B in revenues, ahead of Dentsu, $2.0B.

Internet Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 8

Hill and Knowlton's linkage of fees to stock performance, a no-no in the IR field, is interesting for what it says about current trends in PR.

The word "guarantee" is used although this, too, has been a red flag word in PR circles.

For instance, article 9 of the PRSA code says a member shall not "guarantee the achievement of specified results beyond the member's direct control." H&K is not doing this but is promising to reduce fees by 15% if it doesn't deliver materials on time. H&K notes that "results-based contracts" are increasingly employed in ad accounts.

The release brims with hard-sell and is the opposite of the approach of H&K when it was the crown jewel of PR counseling in size and prestige of clients. The previous H&K never pitched any accounts. Companies came to H&K and showed a recognition of their problems plus a desire to mend their ways.

Pitches Increase Expectations

Competitive pitches, said H&K, increase client expectations to unreasonable levels. "All we're talking about here is good will," chairman Bert Goss used to say. If something happens to a company that puts it in the news, it responds with good cheer, good will and an openness that shows it has nothing to hide. A major burden for PR fell on the company.

In the current H&K type of approach, the major burden is on the PR firm. This is similar to the way advertising is sold.

With the burial of the venerable Creamer Dickson Basford name, as the firm is merged with three others to form Magnet, ad/PR trends have come full cycle on Madison Ave.

G.M. Basford was started in 1935 as an industrial ad agency and formed a PR and promotions wing called Basford PR-Promotion. That linkage didn't go over with clients so in 1969 the name was changed to "Basford PR," a unit of Coordinated Communications. Basford had been acquired by Creamer/FSR, an ad agency headed by Don Creamer. The mixing of PR and advertising was also a popular pastime in those days with ad agencies touting "total communications" as the wave of the future. Every known form of communication, PR included, would be coordinated and aimed at the consumer's mind, it was said.

Coordinated Communications was the name used in the 1973 O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms at the top of a listing that included the new PR unit, Dickson Basford. Creamer/FSR had purchased Sally Dickson Assocs. PR firm in 1971.

However, Coordinated Communications was not going over with clients so in 1976 the name of Creamer Dickson Basford made its first appearance as the separate PR wing of an ad agency. Coordinated Communications, a priceless name, one would think, but a failed concept, was dropped by Creamer/FSR. Ad agencies, using the currently popular term "integration," continue in their efforts to assert full control of PR.

The curious saga of Omnicom and Zero.Net continues. Omnicom owns something less than 4% of this private firm. A principal of one of Omnicom's PR firms, Davis Weinstock of Clark & Weinstock, sits on its board. Jake Weinstock, son of Davis, is CEO of Z.N. SEC filings show that an unnamed "significant stockholder" of Envision Development (AMEX) will underwrite the operating losses of ED for the next year. All signs point to this being West Coast investor Andrew Evans and ED confirmed this, said a June 20 column by Bloomberg's Chris Byron. ED lost $6.4 million in the first quarter and reported cash of $3.6M on April 29, down from $9.2M. It lists total current assets of $5.3M and intangibles of $101M. ED purchased Qvtech, an e-mail security firm, from Sundog Technologies (OTC) for $98M in ED stock but Sundog's stock is now valued at zero, down from two cents a share. Silence continues from Omnicom, Z.N, the Weinstocks and ED...

Deloitte & Touche had not signed the 1999 audit of PRSA as of press time. A major point of curiosity is whether D&T will let PRSA escape deferring dues income while doing the opposite for client IABC, a similar organization...

IABC members are starting to gripe about its $1M e-business that is stuck on the shelf. Why was there no open bidding on the IABC website? While big news bursts about both IABC and PRSA, their websites are oddly dull.



Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471