Edition, July 17, 2002, Page 1
EDELMAN GETS P.R.'s $1M+ TRAVEL,
Edelman PR Worldwide
has been awarded the more than $1 million Puerto Rico Tourism
Co. account, Cathleen Johnson, head of the tourism &
lifestyle group, told this NL.
PRTC had been a long-time
client of WPP Group's Hill and Knowlton unit until it was
switched to sister PR firm Ogilvy PR Worldwide in January.
Ogilvy's Washington, D.C., office had been handling industrial
development work, and then added tourism to its PR duties.
Johnson said Edelman
also will be involved in issues management and government
affairs work for the island-the Navy's use of Vieques for
target practice is a key bone of contention between the
U.S. and its commonwealth.
Johnson said Edelman
vice chairmen Leslie Dach and Mike Deaver, and D.C. general
manager Jere Sullivan were members of the firm's pitch team.
QORVIS WINS SAFENET
Qorvis Comms. edged A&R Partners and Ketchum to handle
IR for network security specialist SafeNet.
SafeNet, which specializes in virtual private networks,
won a multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Department
in June to incorporate its security technology into the
government's systems and is charged with developing a device
for encrypting classified communications.
The Baltimore-based technology company likes Qorvis' commitment
to IR, its security history, and its location across the
river in McLean, Va., SafeNet's director of marketing and
PR, Tom Serio, told this NL.
H&K'S KIRCHER GETS CONAGRA
Hill and Knowlton's Chris Kircher has been named VP-communications
at ConAgra Foods, the $27 billion company that counts Bumble
Bee tuna, Butterball turkey, Hebrew National hot dogs, La
Choy and Chef Boyardee among its brands.
Kircher worked at H&K from 1989 to 1996, and rejoined
the firm during 2000 following a stint at Philip Morris,
where he handled financial/corp. PR.
Bruce Rohde, ConAgra's CEO, said communications is a key
Kircher also worked at The Hooper Group and Icon Group.
MINN. ROLLS OUT BIG ANTI-SMOKING
Porter Novelli and Fleishman-Hillard (Omnicom) battle
Interpublic's Carmichael Lynch Spong for Minnesota's Blue
Cross and Blue Shield anti-smoking communications campaign.
The health group is committed to spending $252 million
for health improvement and prevention programs during the
PN, which recently acquired anti-smoking specialist Nixon
Group, is paired with Miami's Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
That ad agency created the Florida "Truth" anti-tobacco
drive, which it says reduced the number of high-school smokers
by 17 percent over an 18-month period. F-H is teamed with
sister ad agency BBDO. Minneapolis-based CLS is partnered
with its ad unit.
DKC TO PROMOTE CONSTITUTION
The National Constitution Center, which opens in Philadelphia
next July 4, has selected Dan Klores Communications to pitch
features about the Center and promote the museum's educational
Liz Barszczewski, PR manager for the Center, said Tierney
Communications and Smith Fairfield were runners-up for the
The Center will join the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
on Independence Mall. DKC plans a series of pre-publicity
events leading up to the grand opening. Ground was broken
for the Center on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 2000.
Bruce Bobbins, senior VP at DKC, called the Center a "one-of-a
kind destination." DKC plans to incorporate various
"headline makers" from the political, entertainment
and sports worlds into some of the special events that it
will conduct for the Center.
managing director at Public Strategies Inc. and media director
for President Bush's presidential campaign, is receiving
a $5,000 monthly fee from Vanity Fair to provide
it access to the White House.
He told the Wall Street Journal that his job is
to make Bush "look good." McKinnon lined up the
front page January VF cover that featured Bush and his "war
team" photographed by Annie Liebovitz. PSI's website
plays up McKinnon's close ties with the President. It includes
a quote from Bush calling McKinnon a "friend and trusted
Edition, July 17, 2002, Page 2
AD AGE'S CRAIN SAYS PR IS
PR is the "closer
medium" that turns a budding relationship a marketer
has with a consumer into a long-lasting romantic union,
Rance Crain, editor-in-chief of Advertising Age,
said at an Edelman PR Worldwide conference in New York on
Crain is astounded at
how dramatically the marketing landscape has changed, and
feels that PR is ready to shoulder a bigger presence in
the overall mix. He faulted ad agencies that haven't been
able to see beyond the traditional 30-second TV commercial.
He said participants at a recent Ad Age conference talked
about the need to build relationships with consumers, which
is a strong point of PR.
to Crain, are cutting back on ads in magazines and TV while
opting for sponsorships, special events and product placements
to help build "warm and fuzzy images" for their
The Edelman session-unfortunately
for Crain-was called "Marketing in a Post-Advertising
Age." One Edelman exec said, "We should have called
it "Marketing in a Post-Advertising Era."
Build a Brand
Al Ries, who wrote "The
Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR" with his
daughter Laura, said advertising lacks credibility with
consumers, especially in the current age of Enron. In Ries'
view, PR should be used to establish a brand, while advertising
is in tune with maintaining the brand. He questioned the
wisdom of marketers such as General Motors which has spent
billions for advertising. The automaker, said Ries, spent
$23 billion for ads during the last eight years. The result:
its market share plummeted to 28 from 34 percent.
Pam Talbot, president
of Edelman U.S., spoke about how PR can weave messages into
people's lives. Dan Edelman, who founded the firm 50 years
ago, said he would like to see more balance between spending
for ads and PR. He noted that companies may spend $100 million
for ads, while doling out only $1 million for PR.
His firm is going to
run a special section in Ad Age in October as part of its
anniversary celebration. Edelman said he has been trying
to convince Crain for the last 25 years that PR stories
should be in Ad Age.
COKE CREATES SITE TO REFUTE
Coca-Cola has created a website to debunk or refute some
of the many reports about the company and its brands.
Kari Bjorhus, who is Coke's director of interactive communications,
said the company decided to post its information after noticing
how rumors are fueled via the Internet.
Some of the false rumors are funny, like the one that
Coke will quickly dissolve nails or teeth, while others
are serious, such as the one that Coke donates profits to
Coke's rumors page is at www2.coca-cola.com/
U.S. PR PROS ASKED TO 'SAVE
Terence Fane-Saunders, CEO of London's Chelgate Ltd.,
is looking for U.S. PR pros to help promote its "Save
Zimbabwe" campaign that aims to restore democracy and
human rights to that African nation.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost a March "rigged"
presidential election to Robert Mugabe, and his Movement
for Change, are among those behind the Save Zimbabwe effort.
The campaign wants new elections under international supervision,
and calls for the restoration of freedom of speech.
"It is an obscenity that a country which used to
be a food exporter with rich and productive farmlands and
an intelligent, hard-working people, should now be reduced
by this evil regime to the point where millions are facing
starvation," Fane-Saunders said via e-mail to this
Fane-Saunders believes there may be U.S. PR pros "who
recognize the historic importance of this battle to save
Zimbabwe, and would like to offer their help. All offers
of assistance (as distinct from offers of fee-based services)
will be warmly welcomed by the campaign."
His goal is to send the SZ message to the United Nations,
European Union, NGOs, human rights groups and Washington.
BSMG did project work for the Movement last year.
Cohen & Woods International and Dickens & Madson-which
spread allegations that Tsvangirai was behind a plot to
assassinate Mugabe just prior to the election-represent
The 78-year-old Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained
independence from the U.K. in 1980.
TIERNEY COMMS. BACKS LOTTERY
A lawsuit has been filed against Pennsylvania's Department
of Revenue seeking to overturn the awarding of the state's
$30 million Lottery ad contract to Marc Advertising, a Pittsburgh-based
Tierney Comms., which has held the lottery ad contract
for the past 25 years, is involved in the suit.
Brian Tierney, chairman of TC, is one of the 12 petitioners
in the suit, which also includes Sen. Vincent Fumo (D-Phila.)
and Sen. Joseph Conti (R-Bucks Cty.).
The suit, which was filed on July 10 by Sprague &
Sprague in Commonwealth Court, alleges mishandling of the
Earlier this year, Tierney's firm, which is owned by Interpublic
Group of Cos., filed a protest with the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania and the Dept. of Revenue concerning the RFP
then underway for the lottery ad contract.
The complaint accuses the Dept. of Revenue of "failing
to discharge its duties so as to assure fair, competitive
access to Commonwealth agency procurement by responsible
contractors, all to the detriment of the petitioner taxpayers
and other taxpayers throughout the Commonwealth."
A spokesman for TC said the firm has continued to handle
the ad contract.
Edition, July 17, 2002, Page 3
NEW MEDIA BOOK
CLUBS BOOST SALES
SVP/executive director of publi-city, promotion and media
relations for book publisher Alfred A. Knopf, said the two
new media-sponsored book clubs are driving "explosive
sales in the retail marketplace."
ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" launched its "Read
This!" Book Club segment. The first selection was "The
Dive from Clausen's Pier" by Ann Packer, published
in April by Knopf.
had an initial printing of 30,000 copies. When GMA contacted
Knopf to say the book was the first "Read This!"
selection, the publisher printed an additional 75,000 copies.
segment, which aired on June 13, featured a book club from
Jefferson, Tex., recommending the novel to GMA's viewing
sales from GMA's `Read This!' segment were immediate and
extraordinary," said Bogaards. "Based on sales
of stores on the day of the announcement, we reprinted an
additional 110,000 copies. We now have nearly 250,000 copies
after the segment, Bogaards said Packer's book went to #1
on Amazon.com. In subsequent days, the book went to #1 at
Ingram, the largest book wholesaler in the U.S., #8 at Barnes
& Noble, #8 on BookSense, a consortium of 1,200 independent
booksellers, and it debuted on The New York Times bestseller
list on June 30 at #9.
"Today's Book Club" made its debut on June 20.
The first selection, which was chosen by bestselling author
John Grisham, was "The Emperor of Ocean Park"
by Stephen Carter.
June 4 by Knopf, the book had a first printing of 240,000
copies and it is already a national bestseller, according
was notified by Today about the Carter selection, they ordered
an additional reprint of 250,000 copies.
clubs driving sales include USA Today Book Club and
"Reading with Ripa" Book Club, which airs on "Live
With Regis and Kelly."
club was started with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Empire
Falls" by Richard Russo, while Ripa's club has featured
"If Looks Could Kill" by Kate White, followed
by "Confessions of a Sociopath Social Climber"
by Adele Lang.
these books became bestsellers after they were selected
by these book clubs, according to Bogaards.
book clubs seem to work on three levels," said Bogaards.
"They drive book sales in both independent and chain
bookstores, and on-line retailers, as well; they reinforce
viewership, readership and listenership, depending on the
host media; and they bring together readers, both on the
local and national level."
Winfrey suspended her book club in April, booksellers feared
business would suffer.
was appointed editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine, which
is owned by the Feminist Majority Foundation in Los Angeles,
headed by Eleanor Smeal.
a reporter for The Los Angeles Times and for the
past 17 years has been at The Orange County Register, where
she was investigation editor.
As a combat
correspondent in Vietnam for United Press International,
Wood covered the fall of Saigon and the release of the American
prisoners of war in Hanoi. She is co-author of "War
Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters Who Covered
Vietnam," which will be published in August by Random
she will pursue hard-edged stories, and will cover everything
from sports to current events and even the features will
have a news edge.
The magazine, which was started in 1972 as a feminist publication
by Gloria Steinem, will continue to expose wrongdoing and
to spur reactions to overt abuses of women's rights, Wood
in Fullerton, Calif.
MD, vice chairman of medicine at the Univ. of California-San
Diego and a cardiologist, was named editor-in-chief of the
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Bethesda,
a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal's
Los Angeles bureau, was named business editor of The
Los Angeles Times, succeeding Bill Sing, who has been
appointed senior editor in charge of editing and creating
special editorial sections for the paper. The changes will
occur in mid-September.
was appointed chief political correspondent for washingtonpost.com,
based in Arlington, Va. He is a former Washington Post
90, a retired director and major shareholder of Dow Jones
& Co., died July 1. She was a descendant of Clarence
Barron, the Boston newspaperman who acquired Dow Jones on
March 31, 1902, and the last surviving child of Jane Bancroft,
the step-daughter of Barron to whom he left control of Dow
54, formerly president of Dow Jones & Co.'s international
group, was named a SVP of the company and publisher of all
print editions of The Wall Street Journal.
House is the wife of Peter Kann, 59, who will remain as
chairman/CEO of Dow Jones and as editorial director of all
43, has joined Travel & Estates magazine as editor-in-chief.
She was previously executive editor of Corporate Counsel
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, July 17, 2002, Page 4
JAMA PUNISHES FOR BREAKING
Catherine DeAngelis, who is editor-in-chief of The Journal
of American Medical Assn. (JAMA), has instructed AMA's
PR department to drop The Detroit Free Press from its press
release mailing list for breaking a news embargo earlier
in the month.
DeAngelis claims the paper broke an embargo on an important
study about hormone therapy for women.
DeAngelis said a 9:30 a.m. (ET), July 9, embargo time
had been placed on the findings of a study on hormone replacement
therapy to coincide with the National Heart, Lung and Blood
Institute's news conference and release of information.
"While we recognize that this time may not have been
ideal for many of you, we felt it was important that the
public and their physicians have full access to this information
at the same time it was being shared with media," said
DeAngelis, who said JAMA did not break the embargo agreement
with the NHLBI, and published the full report of the study
and an accompanying editorial on its website at 9:30 a.m.
DeAngelis said the FP will no longer be sent JAMA news
releases, articles or advance copies of the Journal. In
addition, no future interview requests from the reporter,
Patricia Anstett, will be granted, she said in a memo to
Anstett said she had developed the report on her own.
DeAngelis said she appreciated the cooperation the "overwhelming
majority" of reporters show each week in respecting
JAMA's news embargoes. "Your cooperation allows us
to send our weekly JAMA media packet out days in advance."
GUIDE LISTS ETHNIC PUBLICATIONS
The second edition of "Many Voices, One City"
lists 270 ethnic press outlets in New York, up from 198
in last year's guide.
The Independent Press Assn., which publishes the guide,
said the publications, which are essential reading in New
York communities, are published in 42 languages by more
than 60 ethnic groups.
IPA said immigrant New Yorkers comprise almost 40% of
the city's population, making this directory a must for
publicists which are trying to reach new immigrants.
The new edition, which includes the new Serbian daily
and the daily Dominican newspaper, also reveals:
-74 publications are based in Queens, 46 in Brooklyn and
12 in the Bronx.
-27 are dailies, 134 are weeklies, 25 are biweeklies and
37 are monthlies.
-49% are published in languages other than English, 37%
in English, and 14% in multiple languages.
The new guide, which sells for $20, is available on CD
or via a web interface from Abby Scher or Gilliam Andrews
at IPA-N.Y. at 212/219-3976.
a freelance writer, is preparing a feature on hotel restaurant
resurgence for Beverage Media magazine.
He is seeking information and help from publicists for
the article which is scheduled to run in 2003.
Hochstein, who resides at 70 E. 10th st. in New York,
prefers to get information and inquiries by e-mail at [email protected].
He can also be reached at 212/420-2270.
a monthly magazine targeting 35 to 64-year-old women
in Hawaii, will hit newsstands next week in Honolulu.
The magazine will serve as a source of information for women,
with features and columns that showcase Island women, as
well as recurring sections devoted to travel, food, home
design, career, finance and beauty.
The first issue has a cover story on Billie Takaki, who
is managing editor of the magazine and a former Miss Hawaii.
More information is available from Samantha Park at 808/394-8600
or at www.hawaiiwomanmagazine.com.
a magazine based in San Mateo, Calif., will be available
on newsstands in September.
In the meantime, copies of the preview issue can be obtained
by sending an e-mail to [email protected].
Each issue of the bimonthly magazine will feature "book-by-book
profiles" of classic authors and publishing news in
addition to a staple of excerpts from book reviews from
other publications, and recommendations of which books to
buy, using a star-based rating system.
Jon Phillips, who spent several years working for Silicon
Valley firms, is editor.
a publisher of hotel travel magazines, will relaunch a Chicago
edition in August.
Native Chicagoans (and brother and sister), Bill and Kelly
Rourke, are the associate publishers of the new monthly
magazine. Their older sister, Nancy Rourke, is mangaging
editor of the magazine, which has been redesigned to cater
to business professionals.
The magazine will contain information on restaurants,
entertainment, sports and culture in the city.
It will be available in-room and concierge desks of selected
downtown and suburban hotels as well as at business centers
and other highly traveled business locations throughout
Travelhost has 8.5 million monthly readers and is currently
found in more than 80 cities.
has acquired Workforce magazine from ACC Communications.
The monthly magazine, which covers HR news, trends and analysis,
is sent to 47,500 human resources executives.
Margaret Magnus will remain as publisher.
Edition, July 17, 2002, Page 7
IS BIG BUYER OF OMC
was the biggest institutional buyer of Omnicom stock in
the first quarter, adding 1.63 million shares to bring its
total to 3.23M, according to 13F filings at the SEC.
were worth $290M in the first quarter when OMC was trading
around $90 but are only worth about $160M at OMC's current
buyers were J.P. Morgan Chase, adding 808,798 shares for
a new total of 1.99M; Putnam Investment, adding 772,581
for a total of 1.5M, and General Electric, adding 409,497
Lynch, including ML Investment and ML Mercury, added 305,729
shares for a total of 2.78M.
Morgan Stanley and ML are among the staunchest supporters
of OMC. MS analysts on June 6 upgraded OMC from an "equal-weight"
to an "over-weight" (buy). ML dropped OMC from
a "strong buy" to a "buy" on May 30
but reinstated its "long and short term strong buy"
about ten days later. OMC at $47 was "an incredible
buying opportunity for the patient investor," ML analyst
Lauren Fine wrote July 9. On June 10 she had written "the
weakness in OMC shares [then $75.95] has allowed for a rare
Top Ten Bought
the top ten institutional holders of OMC purchased more
stock in Q1, adding 3.14M shares.
two biggest holders of OMC stock, Fidelity Management and
AIM Management, sold 4.2M shares.
sold 1.05M for a new total of 13.2M or 7.07% of OMC's 182M
shares, while AIM sold 3.15M for a new total of 8.4M, or
4.5% of the total.
sellers were Goldman Sachs, reducing its holdings by 692,613
shares to 3.03M, and Value Line, which sold 431,001 shares,
The 85 institutions in the 13F filings own about 70% of
the shares of OMC. The top ten own 41.3%. Adding OMC shares
were 46 of the 85.
transactions of the institutions are to be made public in
a few days.
REINHARD SOLD 20K OMC SHARES
Keith Reinhard, CEO of the DDB unit of OMC, sold 20,000
OMC shares at $87 on May 20 for proceeds of $1.75 million
after exercising options that cost him $24 a share or $485,620.
Reinhard, 67, an executive officer of OMC, was a board
member from 1986 until May 20 when he resigned following
the annual meeting that day.
He is the largest individual shareholder in OMC with 482,770
shares owned outright as of March 31, 2002. He also had
options on 325,000 shares.
He has been the biggest individual insider seller of OMC
shares since May 31, 2000, selling 333,500 shares for $29M
that cost him $6.5M via options.
The 482,770 shares were worth about $43.4M at $90 a share
but have sunk to nearly half that value at OMC's current
price of around $50.
CEO John Wren and CFO Randy Weisenburger, exercising options,
each purchased 20,000 shares at $50 on June 13, the day
after a page one Wall Street Journal article on OMC. Fourteen
lawsuits are charging that OMC made false statements and
withheld material facts from about April 2000 to June 11,
Sells Stock Worth $21.3M
The second largest insider selling OMC stock was Alan
Rosenshine, CEO of the BBDO unit, who sold 242,000 shares
for $21.3M ($88 a share) after exercising options that cost
Rosenshine, 63, left the OMC board May 20 after serving
on it since 1986. Reinhard, Rosenshine and seven other insiders
at OMC sold 841,439 shares worth $72M between May 31, 2000,
and April 2002.
XVP of OMC, sold 88,200 shares for $7,972,508, or an average
of $90.40 a share. The latest sale was Feb. 3, 2002. As
of March 31, 2002, he had 16,400 shares left.
vice chairman of DDB who quit as a director of OMC on May
20, sold 40,664 shares for $3,605,194 ($86.58 average).
He also sold 15,000 shares in a "private sale"
at $15 each for proceeds of $225,000. The latest sale was
Dec. 21, 2001. As of March 31, 2002, he had 84,336 shares.
vice chairman and CFO of BBDO, sold 100,000 shares on Dec.
7, 2000 at $88.46 for proceeds of $8,845,900. He had exercised
options at between $10 and $19.71 a share. He "planned"
to sell 90,000 shares for $7.9M on Dec. 5, 2001, according
to the Yahoo! tabulation of insider selling. As of March
31, 2002, he had 69,200 shares left.
chairman of OMC, sold 12,000 shares at $92.60 on Feb. 27,
2002, for proceeds of $1,111,200. He also sold 21,600 shares
on Jan. 18, 2001, for proceeds of $1,945,209. He had 279,650
shares as of March 31.
treasurer of OMC, sold 11,300 shares in 2000 for $997,689
($88.29 average); 18,200 for $1.4M in 1999 ($76.75 average),
and 8,100 for $493,480 ($60 average) in the years 1996 to
1999. Fifteen sale transactions are listed by CBS MarketWatch
from 1996-2000 and five awards of stock options totaling
35,000 shares. Hewitt held 42,215 shares as of 7/9/02.
secretary, sold 6,425 shares April 4, 2001, for $520,425,
or $81 a share, and 5,500 shares for $440,000, or $80 a
share, on Nov. 29, 2000. He has 128,152 shares.
CONSUMER PR PRO JOINS KETCHUM
Lee Bush, an 18-year PR veteran of Ogilvy PR Worldwide,
GCI Group and Noble Assocs., has joined Ketchum as senior
VP and head of the Chicago office's brand marketing group.
She takes on responsibility for Wendy's, Lion's Club International,
Schwinn, Roto Rooter and Harley Davidson's Shure Motorcycles
Edition, July 17, 2002, Page 8
were shocked upon returning from a July vacation to find
that AetnaU.S. Healthcare had hiked the rates for
O'Dwyer Co. employees who live in New Jersey by up to 63%.
We could understand the
23% increases for New York employees because rates are soaring
for all HMOs even though there is little or no inflation.
But Aetna now wants to
raise the rate for a married New Jersey employee with children
from $10,514yearly to $16,509, a 56% increase. The rate
for a N.J. couple with no children would rise 63% to $11,731
and 56% to $5,587 for a single male in his 20s.
Oddly, the charge for
a single male living in New York went up only 23% to $4,849.
The family rate went up 23% to $14,338 a year. These rates
are in the "small group" category (under 50 employees).
about the "New Jersey penalty," we called an Aetna
PR person. He couldn't explain it except to say the
population is aging, drug costs are rising and New Jersey
and other states have many "mandated benefits"
such as minimum hospital stays.
Our Aetna sales rep had
the real reason. People living in N.J. are "class-rated"
by demographics such as age and gender. Those over 50 are
not only socked much more, but also cause the rates to rise
for younger people from that state. In New York, people
are "community-rated," meaning older people and
women are not charged more. Aetna rates in states not including
N.Y. are higher for women. A single male aged 24 would pay
$161 monthly in one state while a woman would pay $305 monthly.
Aetna is one of the three biggest health insurers (15 million
people covered), there's no doubt many other businesses
and individuals are being hit hard (especially anyone living
in New Jersey).
It's no wonder that most
of the PR pros we see at Publicity Club and PRSA/New York
meetings appear to be in their mid-20's and probably single.
Hiring a PR pro from N.J. with a family would cost the pro
and the firm upwards of $16,000 yearly. The N.Y. cost would
be $14,000 or so.
Aetna rates are not too different from those of other HMOs.
There is pressure to hire freelancers or part-timers. Employees
working less than 29 hours a week aren't entitled to health
benefits. Thus, some PR firms are a few experienced people
at the top and a staff that is largely young and single.
PR is getting to be like the music, video, and other industries
where almost no one has a "job."
more about the healthcare mess, read As Sick As
It Gets: The Shocking Reality of America's Healthcare,
by Dr. Rudolph Mueller.
The Clinton Administration
promised reform but gave the job to Hillary Clinton, who
made political mistakes including being too secretive. The
healthcare industry savaged her with the infamous $20 million
"Harry and Louis" campaign warning that socialized
medicine would all but destroy America. Now we have 1,500+
HMOs instead of a single-payer system and costs so high
that 40 million are uninsured. Mueller says the current
"insane" system costs Americans 58% more than
the average spent by numerous other industrialized nations
that have single-payer systems. He wants all for-profit
companies bought out. Even doctors are upset and want change,
2,000+ messages posted on the Omnicom bulletin board at
Yahoo!.com since the Wall Street Journal article
on OMC June 12 show the desperate need for knowledge
about the company.
The writers, most of
them employees and/or stockholders, are skeptical about
almost every source of information about OMC including each
other; statements by OMC executives; the bobbing of the
stock price (they feel it's rigged one way or another);
analyst views (not one "sell" from the ten covering
analysts despite the stock dip); credit rating agencies
(too slow and cautious in making changes), and coverage
by the media (very sparse except for the WSJ; there has
been only one item in a late edition of the New York
Times as of 7/14).
We don't blame them for
being skeptical about anything said by CEO John Wren or
CFO Randy Weisenburger. Wren denies OMC is a "serial
acquirer" despite billions spent on acquisitions, or
that it "swept anything over the side" despite
the off-loading of a dot-com unit once worth $3.5B. To Wren,
the WSJ article was "nothing."
created the rabble that has now assembled on Yahoo!
by telling the 1,500 agencies in the OMC system that they
are as independent as ever. They are behaving just that
way, demanding answers from Wren, complaining about losses
in their 401K plans, layoffs at various units, cost-cuttings,
and the way OMC has been keeping its books. Wren refuses
to address this mob or even the press, which would hit him
with much harder questions than the analysts.
Almost no one shows up
at the Interpublic and WPP bulletin boards on Yahoo although
both stocks have been hurt by the market decline and by
being in the same industry as OMC. Both IPG and WPP are
serial acquirers like OMC. "Don't buy" such companies,
advised Time mag July 14. It said "great companies
grow mainly from within" while acquirers "almost
always end up with a nasty bout of nausea." IPG and
WPP have very restrictive cultures. IPG CFO Sean Orr said
July 9 that IPG will no longer be a "federation"
of companies but a "singlecompany."