Edition, December 5, 2001, Page 1
WAGGENER EDSTROM WINS MASTERCARD
has awarded its $500K+ PR account to technology specialist
Waggener Edstrom. Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Manning, Selvage
& Lee and incumbent Brodeur Worldwide were finalists.
Sharon Gamsin, MasterCard's
VP-PR, described her company as a technology-driven one
while talking about the selection of Wagg Ed.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based
PR firm will open an office in Stamford, Conn., to service
the account of Purchase, N.Y.-headquartered MasterCard.
MasterCard has more than
1.7 billion credit, charge, and debit cards in circulation.
Wagg Ed counts Microsoft,
SAP America, Victoriasecret.com, Universal Electronics,
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Net Perceptions
CARVILLE SPRUCES UP ISRAEL'S
James Carville, Bill Clinton's former political advisor,
has been hired to spruce up the image of Israel in the U.S.
He and partner Stanley Greenberg met with officials of
Israel's Foreign Ministry director general Avi Gil and deputy
director for communications Gideon Meir.
Carville and Greenberg are to be paid by a group of American
Jews who believe Israel's PR "needs improvement,"
according to The Jerusalem Post.
The duo are expected to submit an outline of a PR plan
to the Ministry, as well as a prospective budget.
It's unclear whether the Government of Israel will foot
any of the PR bill.
Meir said an effort to reach out to younger Americans
will be a top priority.
Carville and Greenberg have worked for former Israeli
Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
PERRY TAPPED FOR H&K'S
Diane Perry, a 20-year financial PR pro, has joined Hill
and Knowlton as senior managing director and head of its
New York corporate practice. She oversees 28 staffers involved
in financial, litigation, social responsibility and crisis
Perry held executive VP posts at both Weber Shandwick,
where she was global practice director of corporate communications,
and Edelman PR Worldwide, where she directed its IR unit.
Most recently, Perry was managing director at Gavin Anderson
COMPAQ HIRES PATTON BOGGS
Compaq Computer has hired Patton Boggs for counsel on
its merger with Hewlett-Packard, a deal that has been panned
by Wall Street and the media. The David and Lucile Packard
Foundation, owner of more than 10 percent of H-P stock,
meets Dec. 7 to review a presentation prepared by Booz Allen
& Hamilton concerning the pros and cons of the $23.6
Family members opposed to the deal so far represent 7.5
percent of H-P's stock. They are upset with the prospect
of massive layoffs if the deal is approved, and oppose increased
exposure to the competitive PC market.
The New York Times reported Dec. 2 that the fate
of H-P CEO Carly Fiorina depends on whether she wins approval
of the Compaq merger.
IR firm Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is advising
the Hewlett family, while Citigate Sard Verbinnen is pitching
the deal's benefits.
WALKE LANDS CEO POST
David Walke, who stepped down as senior managing director
of Morgen-Walke Assocs. Sept. 1, has been named CEO/director
of Find/SVP, a New York-based business advisory, research
and consulting firm.
Walke said he had "ambitious plans" for the
30-year-old "knowledge services" company, which
has advised companies from consumer products and manufacturing
to publishing, advertising and PR, including Edelman PR
Worldwide, Ogilvy and Mather, and Porter Novelli.
A group led by Walke and investor Martin Franklin recently
acquired a substantial equity interest in the company.
F-H CUTS STAFF AS NORTEL
Fleishman-Hillard is cutting eight staffers in its 50-plus
member London office following the decision of struggling
telecom giant Nortel Networks to withdraw from the European
Nortel, according to spokesperson David Chamberlin, has
achieved its European PR communications objectives.
F-H "remains our global agency of record," he
said. "We are very happy with Fleishman-Hillard, and
there are no plans for an agency review," the Nortel
Nortel reported a whopping $25 billion nine-month loss
this year following various charges.
Edition, December 5, 2001, Page 2
DOSAGE TOO HIGH FOR MANY DRUGS
Many drugs are being
over prescribed by doctors, causing many of the 100,000+
deaths yearly that are due to adverse drug reactions and
causing millions of severe side reactions, according to
Over Dose, by J.S. Cohen, M.D.
The new book, published
by Tarcher/Putnam, concentrates on the side effects of many
popular drugs including Lipitor and Viagra (Pfizer); Premarin
(Wyeth-Ayerst); Prozac (Eli Lilly); Celebrex (Searle/Pfizer),
and Motrin (Upjohn).
Ad/PR budgets for these
and other drugs are substantial and are one reason 46% of
all Americans take at least one drug a day.
The many deaths from
drug reactions tabulated by The Journal of the American
Medical Assn. for 1998 makes medication side-effects
the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Such deaths exceed the
total caused by auto accidents, AIDS, alcohol, illicit drug
abuse, infectious diseases, diabetes and murder.
Ketchum has handled Lipitor
for many years while Viagra was at Chandler Chicco until
last January when it was switched to Porter Novelli.
Cohen, quoting the Journal
of the AMA, said 106,000 people died of drug side effects
in 1998 and there were 2.2 million known cases of severe
reactions. He feels that many severe reactions go unreported.
Cohen faults the drug
companies as well as the Food and Drug Administration. He
lays much of the blame on the quest for "marketing
strategy," saying companies market drugs in strong
doses in order to "produce inflated effectiveness statistics."
Not Science, Is Served
"Drug company research
and development often serves marketing strategies more than
sound science or patient safety," he writes.
He accuses the companies
of conducting multiple studies on new drugs and then publishing
the most favorable ones while suppressing the rest.
He says they hire "professional
writers to prepare articles according to company guidelines,
using favorable phrases and terms selected by the companies"
and that they hire "experts" to place their names
on company-generated articles "although the experts
have not participated in the studies and their financial
connections with the drug companies are not disclosed."
The No. 1 anti-cholesterol drug is Lipitor, for which doctors
wrote 48.7 million prescriptions in 2000 worth $4 billion.
It is the top-selling such drug and No. 2 among all drugs.
Premarin, a hormone for women, was prescribed 47.7 million
times in 1999.
Concludes Cohen: "Drug
companies dominate the entire process of medication therapy-from
early research to ultimate usage-as few other industries
control their products today."
He also accuses the FDA
of approving unsafe drugs and improper dosages and says
it fails to adequately monitor new drugs.
CLONING COVERAGE RAPPED
The mainstream media's
coverage of Advance Cell Technology's alleged cloning of
a human embryo has been criticized.
The Worcester, Mass.-based
company's founder and president Michael West made several
appearances on TV programs, including "Meet the Press,"
and "Late Edition," to announce the company had
taken steps to create human embryos through cloning. His
story made front page news in major newspapers.
There was only one problem:
ACT's statement was "more hype than reality,"
said Anthony Violanti, a staff reporter for The Buffalo
News. "Also, the few embryonic cells it had created
had died, and the methods used have already been done in
animals, and some scientists insisted it wasn't cloning
at all," said Violanti.
Arthur Caplan, director
of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania
in Philadelphia, said: "This was a PR campaign. It
was aimed at investors and the public, but not scientists."
ACT made arrangements
to release the story online to a science website and also
coordinated to have articles published in Scientific
American and U.S. News & World Report, which
ran the headline, "The First Human Clone."
Caplan believes biology
is going to be the major story of the 21st century, and
the media has to make a commitment to better cover science,
technology and medicine, or this will happen again and again.
Jonathan Cohn, writing
for The New Republic's online site, said it was no
accident that West and his colleagues managed to generate
"As West later acknowledged
to The New York Times' Gina Kolata (one of the few
reporters to greet the announcement with appropriate skepticism),
ACT deliberately by-passed the prestigious peer-review journals
like Science and Nature in order to find an
academic outlet that would agree to publish the study simultaneously
with U.S. News," said Cohn.
Robin Menard, an executive
assistant to Dr. West, who handles media relations for ACT,
said no outside PR firms or individuals were used.
Menard said Dr. West
disagreed with critics, who said he had manipulated the
RASKY/BAERLEIN PITCHES BOSOX
The Tom Werner/Les Otten group, which is among those bidding
to buy the Boston Red Sox, has retained Rasky/Baerlein,
a Boston-based PR firm.
Larry Rasky, chairman/CEO of the firm, is the spokesman
for the investment group, which also includes The New York
Times Co. as a minority partner along with former Senate
Majority Leader George Mitchell.
R/B is also the agency for the Boston Celtics.
Werner, who is a Hollywood TV producer and former San Diego
Padres team owner, said Larry Lucchino, the former San Diego
Padres chief, will serve as Sox president, if his bidding
Edition, December 5, 2001, Page 3
FROWN ON FRIDAY NEWS
president of PR Newswire Americas and a former bureau manager
for United Press International, said "Fridays are still
yawners" when it comes to breaking big-time corporate
the taboo against issuing news on Fridays had become outdated
in view of the fact that the number of Friday press releases
has continued to climb.
interviewing print, broadcast, wire and Internet journalists,
it became clear that the rules had not changed that much,"
he told readers of the National Investor Relations Institute's
magazine, IR update.
are still out-except for small-cap news trying to break
through the clutter, `evergreens' (stories with a long shelf
life) and the items that legal insists must get disclosed"
Friedland, Los Angeles bureau chief for The Wall Street
Journal, said "we still prefer to break news in
the paper, and news issued on Fridays, particularly later
in the day, is often suspect."
prefers to get advance notice to any big announcement so
that "we are prepared. In fact, we'd rather see an
announcement at 5 p.m. on Thursday than 8 a.m. on Friday."
similar sentiments from regional dailies, where business
editors advise against breaking news on Friday because of
low Saturday circulations. In many markets, editorial deadlines
for Sunday business sections are midweek, and Monday sections
are reserved for such specialty topics as personal investing
the problem for journalists are analysts and other expects
who are often not available for interviews on Fridays, said
"Street Sweep" executive producer Mike Cahill
describes Fridays as "wrap-up day" and advocates
Tuesdays and Wednesdays as best for news releases.
executive editor of CBS Marketwatch.com,
said Tuesday through Thursday are prime time on the web
for news that will "create a stir."
PR pros may find it easier for getting an article published
on weekends on the web because web traffic drops off, and
"we are always looking for stuff to use on the weekends
to attract more readers."
editors of spot news services, such as Reuters and Dow Jones
Newswires, welcome Friday releases because they offer an
opportunity for coverage of stories that might get ignored
on busier days.
also see Friday as a good day to put quirky, offbeat news
"in the can" for weekend airing. Armon said many
large-market network affiliates that produce their own local
news during the week turn to their network for weekend coverage,
sometimes airing the full, five-minute-ling national newscast.
The editors of the
"Sunday Styles" section are considering
new story pegs now that the weekly section is being distributed
in the national edition of The New York Times.
The national edition has a circulation of about 800,000
outside the New York metropolitan region.
Trip Gabriel, who edits the section, said the section will
continue to focus on coverage of fashion trends that start
in New York, or in Los Angeles, but his boss, Barbara Graustark,
who, as head of the Times style department, oversees "Sunday
Styles," "House & Home," "Dining
In/Dining Out," as well as the fashion pages, sees
She believes the challenge is to run stories that are
as relevant to a national audience as a New York audience.
As examples, she cited recent stories about traveling home
for the holidays and an assessment of ABC's broadcast of
the Victoria's Secret fashion show.
has been relaunched by Washington, D.C.-based Telecommunications
Report, a unit of CCH Inc.
The revamped e-mail publication has expanded its daily
news offering to meet the demand for same-day intelligence
on regulatory and legislative developments.
Coverage is organized under these headings: Telecom Regulation,
Legislation, Telecom Business, Capital Markets and People
On the Move.
Tom Leithauser is associate editor of TR Daily. 202/312-6060;
The Wall Street
Journal was ranked as the No. 1 media outlet
in terms of impact in a survey of CEOs.
When asked which media outlets deliver the greatest impact,
89% of the CEOs named the Journal, followed by Business
Week (61%); Forbes (52%), The New York Times
(51%) and Fortune (47%).
The CEO Survey, which was partially funded by Burson-Marsteller,
was conducted in October. Written questionnaires were sent
to CEOs at 1,000 companies and their subsidiaries.
The survey findings are based on 206 responses.
unveils a new look with its January issue. Jean Jennings,
editor-in-chief, believes the new look for the monthly is
"going to revolutionize the entire car magazine industry."
AM offers articles on personalities, travel destinations,
automotive art, vintage cars and industry trends.
PRSA/N.J. TO HOLD MEDIA MEETING
Representives from 14 media outlets that cover news in
the Garden State have been invited to speak at PRSA/N.J.'s
annual "Meet the Media" luncheon meeting, which
is scheduled for Dec. 12 at the Somerset Marriott in Somerset,
Res.: Kathleen Gaughran, 973/984-6184.
news continued on next page)
Edition, December 5, 2001, Page 4
NEW YORK SUN MAY RISE AGAIN
Conrad Black, publisher
of The Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers, intends
to spend up to $15 million to relaunch The New York Sun,
which folded in 1950. The paper's launch is expected to
take place early next year.
Seth Lipsky, previously
editor of The Forward, a New York weekly for Jewish
Americans, and Ira Stoll, a former managing editor of The
Forward, who is editor of Smartertimes.com,
a website known for its critiques of The New York Times,
will edit the daily paper.
Stoll recently posted
help wanted ads on his website seeking applicants for editorial
positions for the unnamed paper (NL, Nov. 14).
Besides Black, who is
chairman/CEO of Hollinger International, there are nine
or 10 other investors, including Michael Steinhardt, who
is vice chairman of The Forward.
MAG GETS LIFT FROM ORGANIC
Organic Style magazine has added 100,000 to its circulation
base, raising the total to 500,000.
The magazine, which is sold at many Whole Foods grocery
stores, was started last August.
USA Today's Bruce Horovitz said the magazine's
popularity is a sign that organic products are "hot,"
with sales expected to top $9.3 billion this year, up about
25% over last year, according to the Organic Trade Assn.
"Organic isn't just about healthier food anymore,"
said Horovitz. "It's about a lifestyle change that
is increasingly striking a chord with consumers who suddenly
feel disconnected in an unpredictable world."
While the traditional definition of organic meant products
produced with no chemical pesticides or fertilizers, no
irradiation, no genectic engineering, no hormones or antibiotics,
OS's editors have redefined organic as "whatever is
authentic to your nature as a general way of life."
Maria Rodale is editor of OS. Her grandfather, J.I. Rodale,
founded Rodale Press with Organic Farming and Gardening
(now OG) magazine in 1942.
PERSONAL FINANCE MAGS SLUMP
Personal finance magazines are experiencing declines in
advertising and newsstand sales even though sound advice
has become even more essential to investors, according to
David Handelman, who is covering the magazine beat for The
New York Times.
Media Industry Newsletter said the four largest
circulation magazines-Money, Kiplinger's,
Smart Money and Mutual Funds-are down in annual
ad pages, by 17.1% at Money to 32.8% at Smart
Newsstand sales for the first six months through June,
compared with the same period in 2000, also dropped, according
to circulation bureau reports.
Money (1.9 million circulation) dropped 25%; Smart
Money (809,000) is down 30%; Kiplinger's (1.03
million) lost 42%, and Mutual Funds (800,000) fell
As a result, several magazines are being redesigned to
distinguish themselves in how they deal with the post-attack
world, according to Handelman.
Mutual Funds, published by Time Inc., is streamlining
its front and back sections on investing and financial planning;
SmartMoney, which is owned by Dow Jones and Hearst,
will play up its connection with The Wall Street Journal,
and Money will use heavier paper stock and run articles
that examine the new landscapes of travel, housing and investing.
The New York Daily
News has restored the Brooklyn section after
a 10-week hiatus. The daily neighborhood section was pulled
following the terrorist attacks to make more space available
for coverage of the disaster.
Time Inc. is closing
down On, Asiaweek and Family Life magazines
due to the continuing ad recession.
which first appeared Nov. 1, 1951, is celebrating its golden
anniversary. The weekly, published by Johnson Publishing,
Chicago, has stuck to its original format of covering the
latest fashions, information about which black stars would
be in TV shows and movies, and "beauty of the week"
photo of a smiling 20-something in a bathing suit in the
middle of the book.
Dow Jones & Co.
told employees on Nov. 29 that the company won't return
to its World Financial Center headquarters in lower New
York until spring 2002 at the earliest. The company had
previously said employees might return to the building in
the first quarter.
About 425 news and editorial employees of The Wall
Street Journal and Barron's, are expected to
return to the WFC as soon as the building is available.
CN8, a cable TV
network owned by Comcast Cable Communications, is opening
two new bureaus in New Jersey in a move to increase primetime
news coverage of state issues.
The new Union bureau is located at 800 Rahway ave. The
other new bureau in Toms River is located at 830 Route 37
CN8's other bureaus are in Jersey City; Port Murray (Mansfield);
Middletown; Trenton; Cherry Hill; Willingboro; Woodbury;
Pomona, and Wildwood.
BRILL TO WRITE FOR NEWSWEEK
Steve Brill, who founded the now-defunct Brill's Content
magazine, will write a column for Newsweek,entitled
"Homefronts," covering the legal, business and
lobbying controversies stemming from the Sept. 11 tragedies.
Edition, December 5, 2001, Page 7
PROBE OF U.S. PR
leaders have asked for a "wide-ranging evaluation"
of the way U.S. embassy public affairs officers are conducting
U.S. has a range of programs that constitute our public
diplomacy efforts, including public affairs officers stationed
at U.S. embassies overseas who work with host country media
outlets, academic and professional exchanges with 140 countries,
and radio services broadcasting to people around the world
in their languages," U.S. Reps. Henry Hyde (R.-Ill.)
chairman of the House International Relations Committee,
and Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the panel's senior Democrat,
wrote in a letter, dated Nov. 29, to U.S. Comptroller General
these and other efforts have been galvanized by the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11 to help fight the international war
on terrorism, it would appear that the problem is too great
and too entrenched to be solved by current efforts alone,"
the two said in the letter.
Lantos include requests for an analysis of the effectiveness
of U.S. international broadcasting efforts including methodologies
to identify target groups and audience surveys and how such
information is incorporated into planning and programming;
an evaluation of how effectively TV, AM and FM radio, the
Internet, and other electronic media are being used by the
overseas broadcast agency, and analysis of efforts by U.S.
embassies "to carry out an effective and sustained
public diplomacy program"; an evaluation of the impact
of the 1998 merger of the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency
with the State Department; an evaluation of the obstacles,
opportunities, and available resources of U.S. public diplomacy
efforts and how such efforts differ from region to region;
an analysis of how the Muslim world presents special difficulties
regarding the delivery, reach and effectiveness of U.S.
public diplomacy efforts; and an evaluation of successful
programs administered by other countries or private sector
organizations that can serve as a model for U.S. public
report is expected to be complete in the spring of 2002.
YOU CAN COUNT
ON US, SAYS SAUDI ARABIA
stung by stories that it is a less-than-willing foot soldier
in President Bush's "War on Terror," issued a
statement via Qorvis Communications on Nov. 29 saying that's
just not so. "Officials Reconfirm Saudi Commitment
to Freeze Terrorist Assets" ran its headline.
The statement quoted Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary,
and Richard Boucher, a State Dept. spokesman, lauding the
Saudis. Fleischer said both Bush and Treasury Secretary
Paul O'Neill are "satisfied and are pleased with Saudi
cooperation on the financial as well as many other fronts
in the war on terrorism." Saudi Arabia, said Boucher,
"has been prominent among the countries acting against
the accounts of terrorist organizations."
York Times has been prominent in the panning of Saudi
cooperation with the U.S. It ran a Nov. 27 story headed
"Saudis Balk at U.S. Request to Freeze Bank Accounts."
affiliated with Patton Boggs.
D.C. POST COLUMNIST RIPS PNI
"Below the Beltway" columnist Gene Weingarten
blasted Porter Novelli International in the Sunday Washington
Post Magazine for a release the firm sent out touting
the popularity of its client Chef America's "Hot Pockets"
sandwiches in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Although the last few weeks have been a challenging
time for everyone both personally and professionally, I
know that we are all striving to return to 'normal,'"
read the release. "In the coming weeks as you begin
to return to your regular areas of focus, I wanted you to
be familiar with Chef America, makers of HOT POCKETS brand
Weingarten quips, "This release cannot possibly be
tasteless because it issues from no less distinguished a
source than Porter Novelli International, a company that
is, to quote its website, `a world leader in the field of
brand building and reputation management.'"
He continues, "At first I was surprised that the
image burnishers at PNI failed to mention, in the press
release, the true fact that Chef America has donated a substantial
amount of money to disaster relief... But then I realized
this was counterintuitive, PR-wise. People don't buy HOT
POCKETS because they are grateful to the manufacturers for
their humanitarian gestures. They buy HOT POCKETS because
they're scared of Osama."
PNI's Amber McCasland told Weingarten that the firm was
not trying to capitalize on the events, but rather "trying
to introduce the product to different people, and after
Sept. 11 less people are eating out."
WHITE HOUSE SEEKS CLIPPING
The White House has issued a request for quotations to
provide the Executive Office of the President with a 15-
to 20-page "executive news summary" and a 75-page
package of news clips, seven days a week starting Jan. 1,
Newspapers included in the summary are The Washington
Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times,
Washington Times, USA Today, Los Angeles
Times, Detroit News, New York Post, Baltimore
Sun, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
and Boston Globe.
Breaking or "unique" stories from other regional
and overseas papers, Congressional Quarterly, and
other major newsweeklies are also included, along with AP,
Reuters, Bloomberg, Dow Jones and UPI.
TV coverage should include ABC News, CBS News, NBC News,
CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
Offers are due Dec. 7. Questions to [email protected]
Edition, December 5, 2001, Page 8
Here are some questions
for the 17-member National Investor Relations Institute
How can you justify keeping the $425 annual dues when
you have nearly $6 million in the treasury (at least two
years of total dues)?
. How long
can you ignore the web as an educational tool for all
IR pros instead of concentrating on money-making seminars
for the few?
How can you send "earnings release guidance"
to members and not tell them to put the true earnings
first and leave "coulda, woulda, shouda" earnings
for later, nor tell them to supply a balance sheet?
With such a fat treasury, how can you justify not
having a $100K PR pro on staff to build press ties and use
the media to reach large audiences?
How can you justify not distributing your soft-cover
directory of 5,300 members to the press, especially
since Regulation Fair Disclosure mandates equal treatment
of analysts and reporters?
How can you sit silently while Business
Week, the New York Times and financial figures
like the former head of the American Institute of CPAs say
earnings releases have become a "Tower of Babel."
Why not set a good example for financial reporting
by providing your own results quarterly instead of annually
and following basic CPA rules such as booking income as
earned (you have no deferred dues account whatsoever for
How long are you going to ignore the Federal tax code
which says associations must work for their entire industries
and not just their members?
NIRI is going to act like a private company, with a fat
treasury as a major goal, then it should pay taxes
on the millions it has socked away.
The NIRI philosophy is
that it works only for its members. The IR members, mostly
corporate, work only for their employers who put out these
misleading earnings reports. This circle of stroking leaves
no room for the public.
Public service is not
a concept that is much in evidence either at NIRI or other
communications groups. Very few NIRI members and few PR
people today have media backgrounds where the goal is informing
the general public. IR and PR pros mostly know about aiming
at "target audiences," "market segments"
and "stakeholders." Instead of thinking, "How
can I best describe this subject?" they think: "What
do I have to tell this group to make its members jump through
the hoop I want them to?"
not that hopeful that the NIRI board will respond in any
way to us. It's easy for 17 people in a room to band
together against a single critic and hard for one or two
board members to voice an opposite opinion.
The staffs at associations
love big boards because they're easily manipulated. "The
bigger the board, the weaker it is," is an old trade
group saying. Jerry Dalton, ex-president of PRSA, said the
PRSA board started making big mistakes when it expanded
past seven people (it now has 17 like NIRI). The PRSA board
allowed staff to kill the conference exhibit hall for five
years when suppliers were jumping out of their skins to
exhibit. PRSA's losses were $1.1 million in 1999-2000 during
a good economy. It was unable to print its members' directory
in 2000. IABC's 25-member board blew $1 million on an abortive
website and now IABC can't print its members' directory
at all. The top paid staffers of IABC and PRSA resigned
as the boards of both groups took back power they should
never have given away. The 17-member NIRI board (14 from
corporations) is at www.NIRI.org.
and Omnicom regularly report "new business" wins
totaling $1 and $2 billion or more
with each quarterly earnings report. The figures are misleading
because they are billings rather than net commission amounts
which their sales and earnings numbers are. The accurate
thing would be to say the new business wins are worth about
$100-$200 million in fees (commissions of about 10% or so).
But something even more
misleading is going on. Sources tell us that sometimes one
of these big agencies will only get the media placement
part of an account which is worth 2%-3% of the total rather
than 10% but will still report the full gross billings amount
in its "net new business wins."
New York Post said Nov. 17 that a spokesman for Chase
bank did not return a call about fraudulent withdrawals
being made from ATM machines in grocery stores, delis and
other places not on bank premises. People at some stores
have found a way to steal PIN numbers of ATM users. ChasePR
said it received no calls from the Post but reporter Andy
Geller said he left two voicemails on numbers given to him
by Post business reporters. The problem is that the voicemails
only got to "aides" in the unit rather than PR
"pros." Many companies have "blockers"
and "screeners" that guard PR pros from direct
press calls. Chase said PR pros answer all the press calls
they can and aides get the rest. It's odd that no "live"
person was available among the huge Chase PR staff to talk
to the Post. The Chase unit is chopped up into too many
segments: corporate, retail, investment, financial, private
banking and e-business. Reporters not familiar with the
Chase and similar setups can undergo the third degree by
aides trying to decide which unit should get the call.