Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 1
DICKSON BASFORD RETIRED
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.
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.
MAY SELL HAVAS-OWNED FIRMS
which is acquiring Seagram Co. for $35 billion, may sell
its interest in Havas Advertising early next year.
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
also owns Euro RSCG Worldwide, which operates several firms,
including the recently acquired Middleberg & Assocs.
term we are not an asset for them," Alain de Pouzilhac,
chairman/CEO of Havas Advertising, told AA.
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 www.odwyerpr.com with permission
of Walls and HarperCollinsPublisher.
PROS RAP H&K'S LINK OF FEES/STOCKS
and Knowlton's bid to link payment ofor its services to
stock performance has drawn the ire of several IR pros.
D.C., announced a new "results-based" method of
charging in which it wil share the "risks and rewards"
of its work for clients.
in the release was this sentence:
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."
Louis Thompson, president and CEO of the National Investor
strongly recommend to IR people that they never base their
compensation on stock prices."
Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 2
JUMPS 45% AT WPP
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
WRITER DISAPPEARS ON PRESS TRIP
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
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
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.
VIVENDI AND SEAGRAM SHARE PR FIRMS
Two New York firms-Kekst & Co. and Abernathy MacGregor
Group-handled PR for Paris-based Vivendi, and Montreal/New
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
BARTLE OF SEARCH FIRM DIES AT 60
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.
HIGH-TECH PR ON GRIDDLE
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, UpsideToday.com, Garage.com,
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.:
HOSTS IPREX SUMMER MEETING
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.
PR PROS LET STAFFERS PLAY HOOKY
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.
Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 3
HEADS FAIRCHILD'S 'NET VENTURE
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.
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 style.com, CondeNet's fashion portal.
consumer magazines include Jane, W, and Details.
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.
has been senior VP/brand development at The Limited since
CAHNERS TO LAUNCH BROADBAND WEEK
Business will launch Broadband Week along with a companion
website, Fattcity.com, on Sept. 1.
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.,
News will replace the section with a new broadband-oriented
technology section for the cable TV industry.
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.
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.
BET Weekend, a Sunday supplement magazine aimed at
African-American readers, has been closed.
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
& Publisher moved to 770 Broadway, 7th floor, New
York, NY 10003-9595. The new general editorial phone number
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
previously style director at Redbook and senior
editor of beauty, style at Glamour, has joined
YM as style director.
Wunsh was promoted from senior sittings and shoe
editor to executive fashion editor at Mademoiselle.
Pinto, previously PR manager for Prada USA
Corp., has joined Allure magazine as market
editor, covering American markets.
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 Forbes.com.
Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 4
NAMES MILLER SOCIETY EDITOR
Lisa Miller was named society editor of Newsweek,
and David France was named senior editor and writer in the
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
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.
MEDIA TRAINER OFFERS PITCH TIPS
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
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.
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?
also has identified five common dot-com "red flags" that,
unless avoided, can work against media success during an
interview. They are:
A tendency to "hard sell" the site instead of selling via
a newsworthy, interesting message.
To talk much about hardware, not enough about consumer/business
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
Gerry Gartenburg Productions is based in New Rochelle, N.Y.
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.
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.
31, editor of The Bond Buyer, and Elizabeth
S. Roy, 31, a senior writer for TheStreet.com,
were recently married.
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."
Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 7
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
"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
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
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.
DESCRIBES $1M WEBSITE
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
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 ANNOUNCES PURCHASE OF S&S
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,
Edition, June 28, 2000, Page 8
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.
word "guarantee" is used although this, too, has been a
red flag word in PR circles.
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.
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
Pitches Increase Expectations
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.
the current H&K type of approach, the major burden is on
the PR firm. This is similar to the way advertising is sold.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
& 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...
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.