Edition, November 7, 2001, Page 1
FOUR VIE FOR MASTERCARD PR
Manning, Selvage &
Lee, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Waggener Edstrom and Brodeur Worldwide
are said to be the four finalists from the original 14 shops
considered for MasterCard International's North American
credit card business. That mix included a number of small
Heidi Davidson, director
of product and technology communications, is handling the
MasterCard, on Oct. 11,
reported strong growth for the first-half of this year.
North American gross dollar volume was up 17.5 percent,
while the number of cards issued in the U.S. rose 20% to
Robert Selander, MasterCard
CEO, however, warned that the Sept. 11 terror attacks could
have an impact on consumer spending.
COPITHORNE SUCCEEDS DRUCKENMILLER
Porter Novelli International president David Copithorne
will succeed Bob Druckenmiller as CEO of the Omnicom unit
on Jan. 1.
Copithorne joined PNI following the acquisition of Copithorne
& Bellows, high-tech PR firm, in 1995.
Druckenmiller is to remain in the chairman post, working
on business development and representing PNI on PR forums.
Helen Ostrowski, general manager in New York, has been
promoted to president/North America. Gary Stockman, PNI
West Coast operations chief, will assist her as North America/COO.
Julie Winskie takes over Ostrowski's New York duties, while
retaining her consumer practice director slot.
JABLONSKI LEAVES TRW AFTER
Michael Jablonski, VP-external relations of TRW, Cleveland,
and who has been with the company since 1968, left Oct.
31 following a reorganization of the corporate staff. David
Cote, who recently joined as chairman, president and CEO
of TRW from General Electric, has been trimming corporate
Jablonski said he intends to continue his PR career and
will seek work at another company, a PR firm, or open his
own consulting business.
80, the one-time president of Manning, Selvage & Lee/Chicago,
is leaving his senior counselor post at FRB/Weber Shandwick
and is looking for new opportunities. He says media relations,
news writing, crisis and public affairs are his strong points.
Kraus can be reached at 312/640-6791.
H&K SHUTS DOWN CARL BYOIR/USA
Hill and Knowlton is closing the domestic operations of
Carl Byoir & Assocs., which was the country's No. 3
firm with 600-plus employees when it was acquired by H&K
for $12 million in 1986.
CEO Howard Paster says he's closing the unit because the
market for "premium business" clients has dried
up. He may reopen CB&A if the market picks up.
CB&A had been run out of Los Angeles and headed since
1996 by Maureen Crow. It will continue to serve clients
from Sydney, Melbourne, Milan, Brussels and Amsterdam.
CB&A, prior to its acquisition by H&K, had a very
short list of blue chip clients. They had unlimited access
to the top seven executives for counsel and an array of
special departments for implementation.
Corporate icons ITT, Schering-Plough, American Home Products,
American Can, F.W. Woolworth, RCA and Reader's Digest did
business with CB&A.
The firm had $32 million in 1985 fees vs. $78M chalked
up by H&K. The acquisition enabled H&K to surpass
Burson-Marsteller as the No. 1 PR firm.
EDELMAN PICKS UP GEMPLUS
Edelman PR Worldwide has picked up the Gemplus account,
according to Larry Sennett, president of Edelman Technology.
Gemplus, the world's leader in the 5.6 billion "smart
card" market, had used a mishmash of PR firms, he said.
The Luxembourg-based company generates about 25 percent
of its revenues in the Americas. The cards are used as pre-paid
phone cards, debit/credit cards and in various e-commerce
applications. Gemplus' information technology division is
based in Redwood Shores, Calif., which also serves as its
Americas regional headquarters.
62, with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. since 1965 and who
rose to SVP of global communications, is retiring at the
end of the year.
Perduyn said a search is being conducted within and outside
The department has about 21 PR professionals.
Christopher Aked is director of global comms.
Perduyn, a 1961 graduate of Ohio Univ. with a degree in
business administration, worked for the Lawyer's Cooperative
Publishing Co. from 1963-65.
Edition, November 7, 2001, Page 2
IPG's STRATEGY IS NOT WORKING,
Interpublic Group's financial
woes were featured on the front page of the Oct. 31 Wall
Street Journal, which profiled the ad holding company
and its leader John Dooner.
The Journal reported
that IPG led the race to consolidate, piling on debt in
the process of creating more than 100 business units in
Clients, however, are
"increasingly resisting the idea of one-stop shopping
in favor of playing agencies off against each other, or
underwriting a single campaign at a lower cost," it
IPG has accounted for
a "big chunk" of the 18,000 people laid off this
year by the top 200 ad agencies. Dooner has warned that
he may cut more staff if the ad business doesn't pick up
soon, adding to the 6,000 staffers already pared from the
payroll this year.
The 53-year-old Dooner,
called a "persuasive pitchman" by the WSJ, has
done his best to rally the troops. He had a meeting with
20 key lieutenants in a private dining room in the Ritz
Carlton Key Biscayne (Fla.) last month. Many of them "had
shuttered key offices, laid off employees for the first
time in their careers and watched their own personal wealth
get obliterated as Interpublic shares have sunk," according
to the Journal. His message was that we are all on the same
team, and he urged them to work together to win new business.
Dooner, to his credit,
is coping with "problems of scale and variety that
were unimaginable when he took the post on Jan. 1. He also
inherited headaches from predecessor Phil Geier such as
the steep $265 million paid for Deutsch. Geier admits that
Interpublic may have overpaid for some acquisitions.
is sick and tired of reading about how bad things are going
at the ad holding company. That's apparently why Barry Linsky,
its executive VP, is demanding that top management stop
talking to reporters about untidy items such as job cuts
and office shutdowns.
in an internal memo, urges managers to clam up about "office
closings or headcount reductions." He is tired of the
"Chinese water torture" of negative press about
various retrenchments at IPG.
to Linsky, is hurting staffer morale, client confidence
and IPG's stock price.
by reporters, Linsky tells managers to contact him or Kathryn
Woods, Interpublic's IR exec. Interpublic lost a whopping
$110 million during the second quarter. It plans to drop
its third-quarter loss bomb on Wall Street on Nov. 13.
RBB BUYS ITSELF BACK FROM
The former Rubin, Barney & Birger, Coral Gables, Fla.,
which was sold to Interpublic in 1997, has bought itself
back from the troubled conglomerate.
Christine Barney, president of the former Weber Shandwick
Worldwide unit, said the firm now has the "best of
both worlds-we're still affiliated with Weber Shandwick
and have access to all its services, but we're also independent
She would not disclose the repurchase price.
Barney said the firm will be called RBB Public Relations.
Its current staff is 20. When sold to IPG in 1997, the firm
said it had 47 employees and 1996 fees of $3.4 million.
It has a large healthcare unit.
Bruce Rubin, who was a principal of the firm, announced
last week he is leaving parent IPG. He had been helping
the company on its financial PR.
RBB was sold to IPG when IPG's stock was $48. It is currently
Barney said that she and Weber Shandwick agreed that the
best thing for both of them was to allow RBB to regain its
independence, given the current "marketplace."
U.S./U.K. COORDINATE WAR PR
The U.S. and Britain are launching a PR operation to counter
Taliban claims of death and destruction caused by the air
strikes over Afghanistan, White House press secretary Ari
Fleischer said Nov. 1.
"They've made a series of allegations that are just
not true, including gross exaggerations about civilian casualties
in the war in Afghanistan," Fleischer said.
U.S.-British and allied forces communications "war
rooms" have been opened in Washington with links to
satellite centers in Britain and Pakistan "to provide
accurate and timely information on the war against terrorism
to the international community," Fleischer said.
The U.S. is aiming to have a "rapid response"
team, similar to operations run during political campaigns
that can challenge or refute stories as they are broken
in what is now a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week news cycle. Messages
and news events will be timed to serve news outlets in Middle
East and Asian time zones.
The U.S. currently spends more than $1 billion a year
on public diplomacy efforts, with about half on broadcast
services such as the Voice of America.
AD COUNCIL HAS PSA FOR TERROR
The Advertising Council has developed an overall communications
strategy to help Americans deal with the aftermath of the
Sept. 11 attacks.
The Council's Coalition Against Terrorism promises PSAs
to "inform, involve and inspire" Americans to
participate in activities that will help the nation win
the war on terror, according to Michael Sennott, communications
strategy committee chairman.
The Coalition has talked with grief experts such as John
Oldham, of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He
said the "randomness of terrorist acts makes people
feel as if they have no control over their lives, their
safety or their future.
"This lack of control impedes their ability to overcome
grief, and in some cases, it can lead to immobilizing fear,"
Edition, November 7, 2001, Page 3
TV POLL FINDS
FEWER 9/11-RELATED STORIES
conducted with newsrooms by News Broadcast Network during
the period of Oct. 15-19 with 50 TV stations in the top
100 markets shows the percentage of time being devoted to
terrorist-related stories is down by nearly 30% from an
earlier study conducted the first week of October.
ongoing concern with the anthrax outbreaks, there is a strong
indication that local stations expect to return to normal
programming over the next few weeks," according to
NBN spokesman Jeff Wurtz.
and beat reporters told NBN there is a growing desire by
viewers to return to the normal activity of caring for the
family, work and play.
stations are using satellite media tours and video news
releases on non-terrorist related stories," according
to Wurtz, whose company produces and distributes video and
radio news releases, radio and satellite media tours, PSAs,
corporate videos, and Internet broadcasts.
both surveys show an overwhelming interest in stories related
to health and medical issues.
Finance Stories Welcome
found business/economic and personal finance topics have
also become more important, and travel-related features
are of interest when positioned within the context of safe
places to go, return to flying and bargain fares.
the stations reported they are doing SMTs on other subjects
not related to the Sept. 11 attacks during the morning hours-between
8 and noon.
the stations will start holiday-themed stories on or before
stations surveyed indicated consumers are demanding information
related to their own personal lives; they are asking for
stories that provide information on security and improving
the quality and financial stability of their lives.
ideas include topics specifically concerning terrorist preparedness,
the impact of the Sept. 11 attack on security in the U.S.,
and the state of the economy.
indicate a desire for lighter, yet educational programming
on topics in the medical/health-related field and on issues
related to the state of the economy or personal financing.
stations are receptive to story ideas or information/tips
from corporate and nonprofit entities to help individuals
cope with the post Sept. 11 news and events.
TERROR ATTACKS SHIFT TV RATINGS
The Sept. 11 terror attacks against the U.S. have shifted
TV ratings among the ad supported business news shows.
Before Sept. 11, CNBC's "Business Center" was
winning the race among the three major ad supported business
news shows, according to Dow Jones.
Fox News' up-and-coming "Your World With Neil Cavuto"
was in second place, and third-place "Lou Dobbs Moneyline"
on CNN was struggling to reverse years of audience erosion.
Since mid-September, the once-dominant Business Center
has been displaced by Moneyline and Your World.
From Sept. 17 to Oct. 21, Moneyline has averaged 1,403,000
viewers, four times as many viewers than in the same period
a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Cavuto's show has averaged 1,072,000 viewers during the
period, up from an average of 202,000 viewers in the comparable
By contrast, Business Center's viewership has been flat.
From Sept. 17 to Oct. 21, Business Center had an average
audience of 273,000 viewers, compared with 272,000 for the
same period the year before.
added a business calendar to its "Advisor"
The new feature has "everything you need to know
about what's going on, and a whole lot you don't,"
says managing editor Rik Kirkland. "It's the wittiest,
most delightful monthly guide anywhere. Trust me on this,"
Erik Torkells, a senior editor, is in charge of the calendar.
who was promoted to deputy managing editor of Business
2.0 magazine, will continue to be based in New York
and will oversee the "What Works" section of the
who hosts a cooking show on public TV, plans to write a
column about food and relationships for The Charleston
Dupree has put her home up for sale in Social Circle,
Ga., where her cooking shows are filmed. She plans to spend
more time in Charleston, S.C.
D S Simon Productions,
New York, will include its "Healthline Medical Feed"
for free on all health-related PR VNRs and satellite media
Suzanne Murphy, previously at Orbis Broadcast Group, has
joined DSSP's New York headquarters as manager, new business
development specializing in healthcare.
Pitches with a comfort
angle are of interest to editors of home and hearth
Country Living magazine commissioned a study just
before the Sept. 11 attacks that shows Americans are leaning
toward a need to simplify and a yearning for connection.
Michael Clinton, executive VP of Hearst, said people are
looking for reassurance.
news continued on next page)
Edition, November 7, 2001, Page 4
USA TODAY WIDENS LEAD AS TOP
Major metropolitan and
national papers reported essentially flat circulation, according
to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Although USA Today
increased its lead as the nation's biggest circulation newspaper,
the national paper's circulation for the six months ended
Sept. 30 as filed with ABC averaged 2,241,677 copies Monday-Friday,
a drop of 0.6%.
The Wall Street Journal
remained in second place with a gain of 1.0% to 1,780,605.
The New York Times rose 1.1% to 1,109,371. The
Los Angeles Times fell 4.9% to 972,957, and The Washington
Post, which finished in the fifth spot, lost 0.7% to
The worst performance
was from The Philadelphia Inquirer, which lost 8.8%
to 365,154. Among the big gainers were The New York Post,
up 22% in circulation to 533,860, while The New York
Daily News rose 4.6% to 734,473.
The Newspaper Assn. of
America's analysis of the ABC figures shows total daily
circulation for the 757 papers reporting for the period
came to 47,961,622; the 593 Sunday papers saw total net
paid circulation of 52,596,972.
The NAA also said its
Fall 2001 Competitive Media Index, an analysis of market
data from Scarborough Research for the period ending March
2001, shows 54.3% of all adults in the top 50 markets had
recently read a newspaper, a gain over the 53.5% reported
in the spring CMI report.
Over five weekdays, newspapers
reach more than seven in 10 (72.9%) adults, and over four
Sundays, newspapers reach more than 77.4% of adults in the
top 50 markets.
Some researchers believe
18 to 34-year-olds, a coveted demographic group for advertisers,
are driving the rise in newspaper circulation and evening
TV news audience.
For decades, younger
audiences have largely been apathetic towards newspapers
and TV news programming.
Although there is no
demographic data available yet on who is buying all those
papers, "given the increases in circulation most newspapers
have seen (since Sept. 11), it's primarily coming from younger
readers, because the penetration among older readers is
so strong already, Christine Urban of Urban & Assocs.,
a newspaper research firm, told MSNBC's Jane Weaver.
On TV, the typical evening
news audience tends to be well over 55, yet in the weeks
since Sept. 11, at least 45% of all 18 to 34-year-olds in
the U.S. tuned into CNN at some point, compared to about
16% in August, according to Nielsen Media Research.
At MSNBC, almost 30%
of that demographic age group watched at least six minutes
of the cable channel during the same period, up from 20%
the month prior, and Fox News Channel captured 28.9% of
younger viewers, compared to 12% in August, said Weaver.
The terrorist attacks
have created a strong appetite for news on radio, which
had largely abandoned such programming.
AP News Network, which
provides newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as
well as sports, business and other news segments, has signed
up 35 music stations in the last two weeks.
REPORT COVERS HOMELAND DEFENSE
Lawrence Ragan Comms., publisher of The Ragan Report,
a weekly newsletter for communication executives, has started
the "National Security Daily," a news service
covering homeland defense news.
The news service will provide a digest of news and features
delivered electronically to its subscribers every weekday
It will cull news summaries and commentary from 5,000
media sources, including daily newspapers, news and opinion
magazines, trade journals, think tanks, websites, broadcast
news programs and hundreds of other news outlets.
Mark Ragan is publisher and James Ylisela Jr. is editor-in-chief
of NSD, which is based in Chicago.
A current issue of NSD may be viewed at nsd.
The Society for Women's Health Research,
in Washington, D.C., has established a service to provide
news articles to publications free of charge.
The Society, which was founded in 1990, said
its Women's Health Research Syndicate is the first of its
kind to specialize in content on women's health issues and
the latest research findings on sex differences in health.
The articles carry the byline of Sophia Cariati.
Media can download articles via the web at
Since Sept. 11,
TV talk shows based in New York are having a tough time
booking celebrity guests.
Many celebrities are reluctant to travel, forcing many
talk shows to cope with last-minute cancellations and invited
guests who normally wouldn't get a second look.
The New York Daily
suspended publication of five split-run sections
that covered news in the five city boroughs.
The move was made to make more reporters available for
coverage of events related to the World Trade Center disaster,
and to expand the newshole in the main section for coverage
of these stories.
The paper has not shut down any of its news bureaus in
Edition, November 7, 2001, Page 7
PRSA DON'T BLAME 9/11
economy was already in a downswing when the 9/11 tragedy
struck the country and 9/11 should not be blamed for the
current recession, MIT economist Lester Thurow told the
annual conference of PR Society of America Oct. 29 in Atlanta.
concern about public attitudes, saying they are more important
than some economic realities. "We must remain optimistic,"
of anthrax in a shopping center during the holiday buying
season, for instance, could have a severe impact on the
economy in the fourth quarter depending on the attitude
of the public, he said.
He is especially
concerned about a possible decline in housing values, noting
that this is the biggest asset of 85% of Americans. "Their
credit cards are maxed out!" he said.
half of the current economic problems are going to be blamed
on the World Trade Center attack but these were going to
happen anyway. As a result of WTC, he said, there will be
an effort to "correct and address such problems more
effectively than might have been done."
government spending rather than lower interest rates is
the way to get the economy moving again, he feels.
Novelli, executive director of AARP, formerly the American
Assn. of Retired Persons, said the group had to change its
name partly because "Many Baby Boomers still work and
don't want to retire."
Baby Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964, with a
median age of just under 64.
the 76 million Boomers control 70% of total household wealth
and have redefined the concept of retirement by refusing
to stop working.
Maturity magazine of AARP reaches 18 million households,
he said. AARP has started a new magazine, My Generation,
aimed at the 50-55 bracket.
are "well read" and are interested in Social Security;
savings and pensions; earnings from continued work, and
health insurance, he said.
turn to the Internet for information about employment and
health needs, he said.
PRSA chair, led the opening session in a spirited singing
of the Star Spangled Banner as the American flag was brought
into the Marriott Marquis ballroom by a helmeted military
all sing a little louder now even if we can't hit the high
notes," said Lewton.
the attendees for "not being afraid to fly and travel."
She has flown more than 20,000 miles since Sept. 11, she
being succeeded as elected head of PRSA by Joann Killeen,
who takes the title of president after a change in the bylaws.
The 1998 Assembly in Boston had switched the highest elected
title from "president" to "chair." The
same thing had happened in the early 1970s when the Society
had a "chairman" instead of a president for two
ERRONEOUS PRESS RELEASE
press release issued by Middleberg Euro RSCG Oct. 26 caused
its client Nuwave Technologies' stock to surge to a 52-week
high, before that release was retracted an hour later.
said Nuwave would be featured in the Oct. 29 issue of Barron's
for a recent technology patent it won for a software product
designed to improve video security surveillance.
was actually a paid advertisement set to run in a special
ad section of the magazine titled "The Advertising
Section of Late-Breaking Corporate News."
killed the release and got out a correction," Middleberg
principal Curtis Houghland told this NL.
the release a "miscommunication" and said the
firm has not lost the Nuwave business as a result of the
report, which was never authorized by Nuwave, was retracted
an hour after being released, and a correction was later
sent out via Business Wire.
told Middleberg to alert company executives to look for
the ad's placement, but that note was issued as a release
alluding to a news story.
On the initial
report, Nuwave's stock hit $2.50 a share, an 88 percent
gain - compared to its March 52-week low of $0.38. The share
price receded to $1.43 at the end of trading Oct. 26, up
13 cents and has since slipped to $1.15.
Jerry O'Brien alerted Nasdaq to the problem.
said he has not heard from the SEC or Nasdaq regarding the
incident. Middleberg picked up the Nuwave account in August.
WEBER SHANDWICK CHALLENGES
Weber Shandwick's Los Angeles office is challenging a
$25,000 media training contract held by KOVR-TV reporter
Iander has been getting contracts for more than 20 years
to help the California Highway Patrol deal with media inquiries.
Weber Shandwick lost out to Iander when the contract was
put up for review earlier this year.
The Dept. of General Services will consider WS's official
challenge next month.
The PR firm also believes it is a conflict of interest
for Iander to take money from the same organization he sometimes
covers as a reporter.
Iander sees no conflict of interest because he says he
never uses insider information gleaned from his CHP contracts
to get stories.
Bob Dole, former
Senator and Republican presidential nominee, was named head
of the international and government affairs practice at
Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, Washington,
D.C. Former Senator George
Mitchell was named chairman of the firm. Mitchell
joined the firm as special counsel in 1995.
Edition, November 7, 2001, Page 8
story in Harper's by New York Timesman Chris
Hedges, who said he heard and saw soldiers in an Israeli
outpost entice and then shoot Palestinian youths
(page 7 Oct. 31 NL), drew scores of comments to this NL's
We only carried 22 because the others were either too raw
or did not address the issues raised.
Only two of the 22 said
they believed Hedges. One was neutral. The other 19 accused
Hedges of writing "garbage," being "biased,"
"ridiculously one-sided," acting like Jane Fonda
when she supported Hanoi, causing discord by being "one-sided
and inflammatory," and being "largely inaccurate."
One writer from the U.K.
accused Hedges of "rabid anti-Jewish hatred" and
said Hedges should have backed up his report with photos
or film footage.
Another said: "Whether
true or not, such an article is irresponsible and downright
Harper's was attacked
several times for publishing the 11-page article.
which monitors media for anti-Israel stories, called the
article "vile, anti-Israel filth" and likened
references to it in media as "anthrax spores"
that "pop up in various locations." Harper's is
selling the October magazine at $6 each and is delaying
plans to post it on its website.
Hedges, told about the
objections to his story, said he stands by it and will not
debate it piecemeal.
Hedges is being excoriated for being sympathetic to Palestinians,
no doubt Times columnist Anthony Lewis would
get the same treatment for his column, "A Strangled
People," published Nov. 3. Lewis criticizes Jewish
settlements in and around Ra-mallah in the West Bank, which
he just visited. He said many Palestinians can no longer
get to their jobs because of Israeli blockades and have
little or no income. Settlers have doubled in number since
1993 to a total of 225,000 and continue to increase, he
Hyde (R-Ill.), House Int'l Relations Committee chair,
has called top filmmakers and ad creative people to a meeting
Nov. 14 in a bid to launch a "public diplomacy"
(PR) campaign that will counter Taliban PR efforts. Charlotte
Beers, ex-chairman of J. Walter Thompson and undersecretaryfor
public diplomacy, is talking about an ad campaign in the
Mid-East and Al Jazeera said it would gladly accept the
U.S. ad dollars. Bill
Safire of the New York Times (former PR pro)
is urging a "Radio Free Afghanistan" to hard sell
the U.S. point of view to the Afghans. Times columnist
Thomas Friedman, also writing about PR, says the
U.S. will only win the PR war after it wins the ground war.
He favors the invasion of Afghanistan.
above are missing a true PR move that could reap great dividends
in terms of good will. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin
Talal, whose $10 million gift to WTC victims was blocked
by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, still has his offer on the table
according to an op-ed piece the prince wrote for the Oct.
31 New York Times. He speaks of his "proposed"
offer. Good PR would be working out a joint statement with
the prince and accepting the money. The rejection of Alwaleed's
gift got big press in the Arab world (see www.arabnews.com)
which took it as an insult and proof of anti-Arab bias in
the U.S. "The way to win wars is to attack enemies,
not friends," wrote the former head of Saudi information
to the NYT.
(page 2) was given a major raking over the coals by the
Wall Street Journal Oct. 31. IPG's merger
mania (210 companies acquired between 1998-2000 plus the
True North mega-merger this year) has saddled it with huge
costs. It faces a dim future for ad revenues. Most telling,
WSJ said IPG's "integrated marketing" pitch is
not being bought by clients who either cannot afford it
or want ad agencies, PR firms, and others to compete in
producing the best ideas. The IPG approach serves IPG rather
than the client, consultant Dick Roth told the paper. John
Dooner, IPG's new CEO, is faulted for undercutting the "near-complete
autonomy" IPG's units once had. Key regional offices
of the Bozell Group were eliminated in July and all but
four of IPG's top lieutenants were demoted, said the WSJ.
Analysts await the delayed earnings report of IPG Nov. 13.
spinning off of IPG's former Rubin, Barney & Birger
PR unit in Miami (page 2) is significant. The hundreds
of PR/ad companies IPG purchased, often for top dollar,
may be allowed to walk if they're not profitable. There's
no indication RBB paid anything to extricate itself from
IPG. Said IPG: "In a few limited cases, small businesses
that were not strategic to IPG preferred to buy themselves
back and we've been working with them."
attitude towards PR and the press was evident in EVP Barry
Linsky's memo that was outed by Advertising Age
(page 2). Linsky, noting he was repeating himself, ordered
IPG managers worldwide not to say anything about "office
closings or headcount reductions" nor to respond to
press queries about such topics. Linsky regards "negative
trade press stories" as "Chinese water torture."
Such hyper-sensitivity to negative news is shared by Omnicom
and most ad agencies. Refusal to deal with the press and
accept coverage of the ups and downs of a business eventually
results in a major dissection such as appeared in the WSJ
Oct. 31. The lack of PR professionalism at these firms,
i.e., the ability to deal with bad and good news calmly
and factually, is proving hurtful to them.