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, December 6, 2000, Page 1


Havas Advertising has acquired Abernathy MacGregor Group, a financial PR firm with 65 staffers in New York and Los Angeles.

The French firm will fold AMG into its diversified agencies group consisting of 50+ "brands."

Jim Abernathy said he sold his firm to Havas because of its "invaluable global resources."

He said Havas' global network will enable AMG to serve its clients more effectively than it could by remaining independent and called the Havas deal a "defining moment" for AMG.

The New York-based firm has worked for Blockbuster, Mattel, UPS, Westvaco, DoubleClick, Volvo, Hachette, Showtime and Nippon Steel.

Havas claims to be the world's No. 4 communications group, with more than 250 agencies and 20,000+ employees. Publicis Groupe is No. 5.


Sprint PCS handed its national media relations account to Metzger Assocs. following a pitch that came down to six finalists.

John Metzger called Sprint a leader in the wireless communications market, one of the "hottest" technology categories. The company's all-digital network serves more than 4,000 cities.

Metzger expects Sprint to be a sizable win for his Boulder, Col., firm, though the final budget has not yet been determined.

MA has worked for Sprint in local Colorado and Utah markets.

Kratz & Jensen, which has been merged into Magnet Communications, was the incumbent on the Sprint PCS account, but did not pitch.


The Italian Trade Commission has selected Hill and Knowlton to position Italy as the "fashion authority" in the U.S.

H&K won the account in a pitch that included a mix of Top Ten agencies and fashion boutiques, according to its spokesperson Suzanne Laurita.

Roberto Luongo, ITC's Trade Commissioner, said H&K showed the creativity needed to reinforce the prestige of the "Made in Italy" label.

Janet Bartucci, H&K's marketing group head, handles the account assisted by Livia Marotta, who was director of global communications at Movado.


Burson-Marsteller CEO Chris Komisarjevsky is either cutting or downsizing 40 jobs in the firm's 800-member U.S. workforce to improve client service.

He informed B-M staffers of that decision via a "Dear Colleagues" letter distributed Nov. 29.

Some senior execs will "move out of what were their full-time positions" to become part of a "select group of senior professionals." Komisarjevsky said they will become "senior advisors," a new slot at B-M.

They will be expected to "continue to give clients the benefit of their experience and wisdom, and our colleagues the value of their counsel and mentoring," he said. Others without client responsibilities are to be dropped from the payroll.

The restructuring will "flatten B-M's organization and make it less hierarchical," according to Komisarjevsky.
He positioned the reorganization as a sign of B-M's strength. He believes it's better to shake things up when times are good and avoid the tendency to overstaff during prosperity.

Komisarjevsky said the recent acquisition of parent company Young & Rubicam by WPP Group had nothing to do with the reshuffling.


Former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart has joined Oracle Communications as senior VP reporting directly to CEO Larry Ellison.

Oracle describes Lockhart's position as "communications strategist" and says he will counsel the company on a broad range of PA issues.

Lockhart says his goal is to make Oracle a "household name." He is to remain in Washington, D.C., but will spend at least one week a month at Oracle's Silicon Valley headquarters.

Lockhart left the White House in October. He became President Clinton's top spokesperson as the House opened its impeachment hearings.

Nan Williams, CEO of BSMG's U.K. operation, is expected to leave the firm by the end of the year. Tim Sutton, BSMG Europe head, says an outsider will replace her...Dan Klores Assocs. veteran Sal Petruzzi has joined Arts & Entertainment cable network as PA director...Harriet Pearson, 37, IBM's director of PA, has been named the company's first chief privacy officer. She is to unify IBM's various privacy initiatives in mktg. comms., sales & R&D.

Internet Edition, December 6, 2000, Page 2


The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is distributing "trading cards" to school kids that warn they can get pimples, gas and become fat if they drink milk.

The national campaign against the milk industry began last week in Vermont and New York. PETA activists offered the cards to seventh- and eighth-graders on sidewalks as they were dismissed from school.

Contending that dairy cows are "treated like milk machines," PETA designed an initial quartet of "Milk Suckers" cartoon characters-Windy Wanda, Chubby Charlie, Pimply Patty and Loogie Louie-as part of its campaign to turn youth against milk.

The Chubby Charlie card says: "Eat fat and you'll be fat. Be kind to animals and to your butt and gut by avoiding fattening dairy products. Try a fruity smoothie instead of an ice-cream sundae. You'll look fabulous and have loads of energy, too."

Dairy Group Refutes PETA

"Sensationalism, not science, is what guides PETA's programs," according to the National Dairy Council/ National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.

It calls PETA's effort an "irresponsible" action that could have serious health implications for the nation's youth.
BSMG Worldwide handles PR for the dairy industry, and its famous "Got Milk?" ad campaign. It distributed the dairy industry's response.


A five-hour course at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business requires MBA students to face a room full of angry reporters with questions about product safety and corporate cover-ups.

The program also includes exercises in budget allocation and how to handle confrontations with employees.

Phil Podsakoff, a management professor who heads the Kelley School's Leadership Development Institute, said research shows that when leaders fail it is not because of technical skills.

"They fail in areas such as communication and emotional intelligence. Our goal is to assess the students early and give them feedback to get them prepared for real-life events," he told Allison Beard, a reporter for The Financial Times, who was allowed to cover the course.

Press Conference Is Toughest

Beard said students find the press conference exercise, which is not listed on the schedule, to be the toughest one.

The students are given a scenario in which a child has recently suffocated in a car after its air bag deployed in an accident. The company president is stuck in a Chicago airport, so his new VP must cover.

One student told Beard they had only 30 minutes to get ready for the press conference, so she just read the materials and jotted down some notes.

"In the heat of the moment, you don't have time to go through the pages of data. But you have to make sure you are not speaking too soon and saying something that is not true.

"Reporters are good at leading you in the direction they want," she said.

With cameras rolling, she made her statement, said Beard. A reporter surprised her with an internal memo suggesting that the company had cut corners on safety in order to save money.

After a pause, the student answered: "We have had some issues with suppliers...But we have quality assurance managers on site at every plant. I can assure you that the company would not put a car out on the road that was not certified.'"

"Have you spoken with the families?" another reporter asked. "No comment," the student said.

Finally, the conference ended, and the student's face broke into a relieved smile, "I think I did okay," she told Beard. "I didn't completely crack."

Other students were less confident about their performances, Beard said.


Almost all PR execs said they are expected to take work home with them and are expected to do some work on their vacations and contact the office.

A survey by Heyman Assocs., New York, said stress in the workplace and a lack of balance between work and lifestyles are of great concern to them.

About two out of three said they are having difficulty achieving a balance between the two.

Nine out of ten said their employers expect them to take some work on their vacations and remain in touch and 86% said they are expected to carry out some work-related tasks at home.

Three-quarters of the respondents would like to be able to travel on company time rather than on their own time and two-thirds would like "telecommuter priviliges."


Ted Lapkin, who was communications director for Rick Lazio in the congressman's Washington, D.C., office, has joined The Chlorine Chemistry Council, which is based in Rosslyn, Va.

Lapkin got his undergraduate degree in history from Tel Aviv University, and a master's in government administration from the Univ. of Pennsylvania.

Porter Novelli's Goddard Claussen unit handles PR for the Council.


Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Jurkowsky was named VP of communications and PA for the naval electronics and surveillance systems group of Lockheed Martin. He is responsible for media relations, advertising, marketing communications, community and employee relations.

Internet Edition, December 6, 2000, Page 3


Playboy will beef up its editorial coverage of fashion next year in an attempt to attract more apparel and accessory ads.
Fashion has emerged as one of the biggest magazine ad categories in the past few years. Companies selling apparel and accessories spent $1.03 billion in magazine ads in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of more than 16% against the same period last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Playboy will go up against strong competition for men's fashion ads from newcomers like Maxim and Gear, which have made big inroads into a territory once held by GQ, Esquire and other male-targeted magazines.

Playboy plans to allocate more space for in-depth coverage of fashion in every issue.

It will also create Playboy "events" at the bigger fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan as part of its plan to boost the percentage of fashion ads from 15% to 20% of its total ad base in 2001.

PLACEMENT TIPS _________________________

One, a new design magazine, will make its debut this week with a 194-page issue, and guaranteed circulation of 200,000 copies.

The magazine will publish every other month before going monthly in August.

The first issue showcases architectural and household designs, plus it has a piece on Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, who designs his basketball shoes, and a feature on designer Karim Rashid.

The staff of 82 is split between the San Francisco headquarters and an office in New York's Silicon Alley, headed by CEO Dana Lyon, a former publisher of Wired magazine.

Marguerite Kramer, a former senior editor at Harper's Bazaar, is editorial director. Stacy Morrison is editor-in-chief.

Joe Franklin will conduct interviews from his new Memory Lane Restaurant when it opens in New York's Times Square area.

Franklin, who has interviewed celebrities on radio and TV during the past 50 years, is opening the 160-seat theme restaurant with his longtime producer Richard Orstein.

Franklin, 70, will conduct occasional broadcasts from a radio booth at the center of the restaurant.

Gail Collins has been assigned to write a column twice a week for The New York Times on the Op-Ed page.

Collins, who has been on special assignment for the Times covering elections in her column "Public Interests," will now cover governmental and legislative issues at the state, regional and national levels.

Carolyn O'Neil, former host/senior correspondent for food and travel on "CNN Travel Now," has opened her own production company in Atlanta to do food, nutrition, cuisine and travel writing for the print media and TV production related to food, travel and lifestyle topics.

Her company is located at 995 W. Kingston dr., Atlanta, GA 30342. 404/497-0706; fax: 843-2759; [email protected].

Betty Cortina, who is the news editor of Oprah magazine, is looking for human interest stories. She is more interested in non-celebrities than film and rock stars and loves stories about people doing amazing things. What she likes most are "the real women stories, stories about women who have achieved something, generally in their professional lives, but it doesn't have to be."


Anthony Vagnoni, who had been a senior VP and publicity director/creative of Young & Rubicam since January, returned to Advertising Age as creative editor, a new position.

He will be executive director of Ad Age Best, overseeing all aspects of the annual awards program, and will write features with a focus on creativity.

Laura Petrecca was promoted to senior editor. She will become a senior feature writer for the weekly publication across a range of topics and industries.

Petrecca will continue as deputy New York bureau chief and will also continue to cover the sports marketing industry.
Wayne Friedman, a reporter, was promoted to Los Angeles bureau chief. He will continue to cover the TV industry and entertainment marketing beats.

PEOPLE ________________________________

David Doss, former "NBC Nightly News" executive producer, was named executive producer of ABC's "PrimeTime Thursday," anchored by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.

Tom Wallace is celebrating 10 years as editor of Conde Nast Traveler, whose circulation of 768,547 still trails Travel Leisure's 961,211. Traveler's ad pages are up more than 100 pages over 1999.

Tom Foreman, a Denver-based ABC News correspondent the past 10 years, is expected to be named an anchor for "National Georgraphic Today," the nightly news hour that will be a major part of the new National Georgraphic Channel when it starts Jan. 7.

Terry Tang was appointed op-ed editor of The New York Times, replacing Katy Roberts, who was recently named national editor. Tang, who has a law degree from NYU, has been an editorial writer.

Lars-Erik Nelson, 59, who had been a columnist for The New York Daily News and its Washington, D.C., bureau chief for about 10 years, died Nov. 20.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, December 6, 2000, Page 4


Cisco Systems, the San Jose, Calif., maker of routers and servers, created and sponsored a week-long training seminar in Miami and Silicon Valley for a group of 13 Latin journalists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.

Alberto Arebalos, Cisco's Latin America PR director, said the purpose of the seminar was to widen the journalists' understanding of technology as a whole.

The journalists came from major newspapers and magazines such as El Clarin in Argentina, El Tiempo in Colombia, El Diario in Chile and Reforma/El Norte in Mexico and from more focused publications such as Net@ in Mexico, which focuses on telecommunications and technology, El Financiero in Costa Rica and Computer World Brazil, which covers computers and technology online.

Their schedule included three days of classes at Florida International University, where journalism professors offered tips for making their coverage more appealing to their various audiences, and a two-day visit to San Jose to get a better understanding of the technological developments they write about.

Carballo Meza, editor of Net@, said many U.S. companies continue to regard Latin America as "one package" instead of treating each country differently. He said the regional approach has backfired on some firms.


WJLA-TV, Washington, D.C., was found guilty of libeling an orthopedist in a news report.

The station, an ABC affiliate, was ordered to pay $2.5 million to Stephen M. Levin, 68, for monetary damages.
The Fairfax County jury of four women and three men, also agreed the station "knew the defamatory statements were false" or were made "recklessly with wilful disregard to the truth."

Levin was the subject of a report, entitled "Dirty Doc" that aired on the station's 11 p.m. newscast on Nov. 18, 1997.
The report was promoted by ads that asked, "When does a physical examination become a sexual assault? When you go to the `Dirty Doc.'"

The story was reported by Archie Kelly and producer Candace Mays, who wore a hidden camera into Levin's examination room and had him treat her ailing shoulder.


National Geographic and the TV production unit of The New York Times will collaborate on a weekly science program that will be shown on NG's new cable channel, which is scheduled to start in June.

Richard Flaste, managing editor of the New York Times TV Enterprises, said the show will be largely based on articles that the Times' science section either has run or plans to run.

PEOPLE _________________________________

David Bumke, formerly executive editor, was promoted to editor of Institutional Investor, replacing Paul Libassi, who left. Stan Luxenberg, who was senior editor, was named executive editor.

Stephanie Izarek, 34, previously a tech writer for, to PC Magazine as exec. editor.

Dottie Enrico, 41, formerly managing editor at Parent Soup, iVillage's parenting website, has joined Primedia as director of content development of

Kevin Knapp, who was associate editor of Crain's Chicago Business, has left.

Christina Kelly, 39, previously deputy editor at Jane magazine, was named executive editor of YM magazine.


The New Yorker has recently hired fashion writer Judith Thurman and rock critic Nick Hornby as editor David Remnick continues to reposition the magazine.

Both readers and advertisers are being attracted by Remnick's brand of journalism, according to Crain's New York Business.

Remnick, who has avoided celebrity coverage, has refocused the 75-year-old magazine's editorial content on more "thought-provoking pieces," and expanded coverage of cultural topics, said CNYB.

Weekly circulation has risen to 843,151, a gain of 4%, since the former reporter for The Washington Post replaced Tina Brown as editor two years ago.

While the magazine is still operating in the red, ad pages are up 15% to about 2,378, and ad revenues will top $100 million for the first time in 2000, according to the publisher's estimates.


David Duprey of Internet Photography, which is opening a studio in New York this month, said images shot for the Internet need to be kept simple because they are often first viewed as thumbnails measuring no more than an inch across.

"We shoot with the idea that we are creating an icon for the product image. Even in its smallest version, the main selling points of any given product should be clear and readable," said Durpey, who co-founded IP with Mark Holthusen.

IP's photo business is booming with assignments from e-commerce businesses liket eToys, cooking. com and, according to Duprey.

"Using our site as a portal, clients can review the work almost the instant it's shot. They can have images sent to their server or e-mailed to their location half a world away. Traditional film photography is going the way of the dinosaur," he said.

Internet Edition, December 6, 2000, Page 7


Upwards of three-quarters of commissionable ads placed in the U.S. are handled by the top ten ad/marketing conglomerates, according to statistics compiled by Advertising Age and used in a report by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

The top ten holding companies and brands, including Havas, Dentsu, Publicis and Cordiant, had $14.3 billion in U.S. fees in 1999. The U.S. income of the top three, WPP, Interpublic and Omnicom, was $8.7 billion or 61.4% of this total.

IPG said it agrees that more than one third but less than one-half of commissionable U.S. ad billings are handled by the top three. More exact statistics are difficult to obtain, it said.

A similar tabulation by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette five years ago estimated that the top nine U.S.-based conglomerates (not counting Dentsu and Havas) accounted for 65% of the "implied universe of ad agency fees" of $18.8B in 1996.

The top nine had a 34% share in 1985.

About 80% of the total of $31.2 billion in gross income in 1999 of "the top 500 U.S. agency-based brands" as tabulated by AA was handled by the top ten and 48% of this total was handled by the top three-WPP Group, IPG and OMC.

With the intended purchase by IPG of Deutsch Inc., described as "the last of the big independent ad agencies," the percentage of ads in the hands of a few agencies will spurt even higher.

Deutsch, with income of $133M, is being bought for an estimated $200M-$250M in stock.

Top Three Account for Half of Gross

WPP, IPG and OMC had 17.9%, 15.6% and 15.1% (total of 48.6%) of total gross income (including marketing services) in the group of 500 ad agencies measured by AA, according to figures in the Morgan study published Nov. 21.

The other seven conglomerates are Havas, 6.1% market share; BCom3, 5.2%; Dentsu, 5.0%; True North, 4.6%; Publicis, 3.4%; Grey, 3.2%, and Cordiant, 3.1%. The portion assigned to the remaining ad agencies in the 500 was 20.7%.

Morgan estimates that 1999 U.S. ad revenues, including print and broadcast media but not direct mail, marketing services and PR, totaled $150B.

DL&J estimates 1999 worldwide traditional media advertising at $225B. Marketing services such as direct mail and PR make up about half of the fees of WPP, IPG and OMC. Thirteen of the 14 largest PR operations are ad-agency owned. With virtually no more big ad agencies or PR firms to buy, DL&J said in May that the top ten will probably start buying each other.

Wayne Causey, who was a senior director of Hill and Knowlton's technology practice in Washington, D.C., has left to join Ruder Finn/D.C. as a senior VP and director of that firm's technology practice.


The United States is undergoing an "epidemic" of flattery in business and private circles and recipients should be wary of it, says You're Too Kind: a Brief History of Flattery, by Time, Inc. senior editor Richard Stengel.
Flatterers have many techniques, he noted, including:
-Sending you gifts.
-Smiling at you a lot (smiling means "I like you").
-Listening intently to what you have to say; letting you do most of the talking.
-Using your name a lot (people "love" to hear their names).
-Protecting you from unpleasant facts ("Don't tell your boss his name was not enough to get a table").
-Dressing extra special for you.
-Giving you "red carpet" treatment.
-Spending a lot of time with you.
-Praising you, as opposed to what you did, when you do something praiseworthy.
-Asking your advice; telling you a secret, or deprecating his or her own self (only successful people can do this).

Stengel says flattery "thrives" in "hierarchical settings" like Fortune 500 boardrooms.

Only the most fulsome, energetic flattery is acceptable in entertainment circles, he noted.

"You look good!" or, "Hey, you look great!" has replaced "How are you?" as the universal greeting in such circles. These phrases must be delivered with "real enthusiasm" if they are to register, he advises.

Hollywood studios outdo each other in sending expensive and interesting gifts to stars at Christmas. Director Steven Spielberg once gave his stars Miata sports cars, he reports. A $100,000 gift is "a trinket" to stars making millions in a few weeks, he notes.

Hollywood journalists are "groveling" to the stars because there's little to be gained by being adversarial with an actor, Stengel observes.

Preemptive Conformity Is One Technique

Flattering those above you is difficult because the flatterer looks like a "toady."

One technique is "preemptive conformity," where the flatterer anticipates the client's or boss' opinion and states it before one of them does. Another technique is disagreeing with the client at first but gradually coming around to his or her opinion.

The root problem of flattery is that it could be insincere, cautions Stengel. The flatterer could "steal your heart" while "picking your pocket."

Quoting the Greek philosopher Plutarch, Stengel says flatterers reveal their true selves in several ways. A real friend will befriend your friends while a flatterer "will covertly try to steer you away from them." Flatterers tend to be extra nice to you but rough to those below them. Flatterers are friendly in a serious way. Said Plutarch: "Flatterers act the part of the friend with the gravity of a tragedian."

Internet Edition, December 6, 2000, Page 8


PR considerations, not legal technicalities, will be decisive in the battle over the counting of Florida's presidential votes. Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court must render decisions that will be judged fair in the court of public opinion.

The Democrats were waging more of a PR battle last week as Al Gore appeared on numerous nightly TV shows Nov. 29 while George Bush appeared on none. Bush gave a brief interview the next night from his farm. The Democrats are using every debating technique they can think up including comparing miscounted ballots to dollar bills that are rejected by vending machines and grocery items that have defective bar codes and are thus not counted at the check-out counter. The prices for such items are then punched in by hand, it is noted.

Dimpled and incompletely punched chads, at first the object of ridicule, are increasingly getting serious attention. Since the message to voters over the years has been that every vote is sacred, it's hard now to ridicule someone who has tried to vote but whose efforts may have been frustrated by faulty alignment of a ballot in a form, or holes in the form that have been worn and widened, thus causing the stylus to miss its mark in punching out a chad.

The concentration of advertising buying power in a few giant ad agencies (page 7) is cause for concern. Suppose these agencies decide that certain media are more "supportive" of a particular industry, or business in general, and favor such media in placing ads? The economically secure media can withstand such pressure but there are plenty of ad-dependent media that can't. The ad conglomerates often maintain they have no relationships with their numerous owned companies. But Omnicom CEO John Wren played a "key role" in BBDO's recent pitch for the $2.3 billion Chrysler ad account, making "regular visits" to Chrysler's marketing execs in Detroit, reported the Wall Street Journal. Interpublic itself has been named as global ad strategist for Coca-Cola, supervising the work of ten IPG agencies.

There is an "epidemic" of flattery going on, especially in the business world, says author Richard Stengel in a new book (p. 7).

He should visit Madison Ave., where flattery is one of the main industries, if not the main industry.

Stengel writes about the prevalence of "stroking, sucking up, schmoozing, snowing, kissing-up," and numerous other phrases that describe what flatterers do to clients, bosses, etc.

Flattery is laid on much thicker in the ad world than in the PR world, based on our experience.

We covered the ad industry daily for four years for the former New York Journal-American and another four years for the Chicago Tribune.

Assigned to the J-A ad column toward the end of the year, we were shocked to receive nearly 200 bottles of liquor, wine, liqueurs, fruit baskets, etc., as holiday gifts from ad agencies and PR firms. The receptionist openly bragged he kept many bottles himself. Gift-giving in adland (to clients, media buyers, etc.) was normal, we were told. As an example, a big media buyer might get a car.

Ad agency execs not only took us to lunch at the finest restaurants but often hosted us in their private dining rooms. During agency tours, staffers stopped what they were doing and practically saluted when we came by. After lunches and evenings with top ad execs, we practically floated back to office or home on a tide of good fellowship. Never had we met people who were so cordial. On occasion we would accompany agency execs when they took ad clients "on the town." Then we saw the true meaning of "red carpet treatment."

Not only are ad agencies and PR firms stroking their clients to an unprecedented degree these days, they are urging their clients to do the same with their own customers. PR is no longer seen as education or providing information but "building relationships with client audiences." PR firms spend a great deal of time with clients (which can be a form of flattery) crafting strategy and coordinating PR with ads, direct mail, graphics, etc.

All this stroking between agencies and their clients<%0> and the customers of the clients works well until the press intrudes. Stroking and other forms of flattery no longer work. The press mostly stopped accepting gifts many years ago and many reporters won't even let subjects pick up the lunch tab. Reporters want as many hard facts as possible and will get them from the Internet, public documents and other sources if they are not provided by PR. Press relations has become a much smaller part of PR than it once was.

With 13 of the 14 biggest PR firms now in the hands of ad agencies, advertising type devotion to client aims and schmoozing the client have greatly increased. Speeches by PR firm presidents on current topics, which used to be a frequent occurrence, have all but disappeared. The big PR firms, like their ad agency owners, mostly seek to gain attention by moving up in the industry rankings, winning awards, and via ad campaigns. The big firms will again rank themselves by submitting their figures to the Council of PR Firms, which allows ad commissions to comprise up to 49% of their totals. The CPRF will then dole out the figures to the media. Last year no proofs of the claimed income or employee totals were supplied to the media by the big firms.


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