Edition, March 12, 2003, Page 1
KETCHUM, MS&L LAND HOME
Home Depot has singed
Ketchum and Manning, Selvage & Lee as its PR firms.
The Omnicom unit will handle marketing PR, while the Publicis
Groupe operation will focus on corporate duties.
More than 20 firms pitched
the account. Jerry Swerling, a Los Angeles management consultant,
handled the review.
HD had more than $58B
in fiscal 2002 sales. It employs 300K people in the U.S.,
Canada and Mexico.
SHANGHAI ISSUES $$ RFP
Shanghai, which is China's
largest commercial hub, has issue an RFP for a lucrative,
potentially long-term PR contract to promote the city's
"charm, spirit, popularity, attractiveness and influence
overseas" as it prepares to host the 2010 World Expo,
according to a bid document obtained by The Wall Street
Journal. Billings are pegged between $250K and $500K
annually for the project, which could run as long as seven
years and bill in the millions.
The city expects as many
as 70 million visitors for the Expo.
Weber Shandwick helped
Beijing with its image during that city's successful bid
for the 2008 Olympics.
BEERS EXITS STATE DEPT.
Propaganda czar Charlotte
Beers, who faced withering criticism for her efforts to
build support among Muslims for President Bush's war on
terrorism, is leaving her State Dept. post because of "health
reasons." Patricia Harrison, who heads State's Bureau
of Educational and Cultural Affairs, succeeds Beers on an
Secretary of State Colin
Powell issued a statement praising the former ad woman for
bringing "new energy, new ideas and new enthusiasm
to our interaction with the public in America and throughout
the world." He credited Beers for helping the State
Dept. "find ways of making our case to policy makers
while expanding our outreach efforts to make connections
with ordinary people, particularly in Muslim nations."
Wolfe, a key advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist and a former Reagan-Bush campaign official, is slated
to join Manning, Selvage & Lee next month as senior
VP for PA in D.C. Wolfe was communications director at the
National Republican Senatorial Committee, which was headed
by Frist, as that party took control of the Senate in November.
IPG's NET SINKS 79% to $20M
Interpublic Group suffered
a 79 percent plunge in fourth-quarter net income to $20
million on a four percent revenue drop. The company took
a $135 million pre-tax charge related to its Octagon Motor
Sports division. IPG's stock traded at $7.50 on March 7,
a 12-year low.
New CEO David Bell predicted
revenues will continue to drop this year. "We have
major work ahead of us," he said. His priorities will
be "achieving financial reliability and accountability"
at both the holding company and operating unit level.
IPG reported progress
on the sale of its NFO WorldGroup unit, which has $466 million
in revenues. For the year, IPG earned $99 million to a $534
million 2001 loss. The company pared 3,300 from its payroll,
employing 50,800 at yearend 2002.
Standard & Poor's
lowered IPG's debt to junk status based on its "recent
record of weak profitability."
AD/PR GIANTS NIX RANKINGS;
WPP Group, Interpublic,
Omnicom, Grey Global and Publicis said their ad agencies
and PR firms will not supply statistics this year for the
rankings compiled by this publication, the Council of PR
Firms, other publications including Advertising Age
and AdWeek or any of the scores or rankings in other
The board of the CPRF
was meeting by telephone March 10 to decide on whether to
continue ranking PR firms. Kathy Cripps, CPRF president,
said the group's goal is to "completely and accurately
report" on the PR counseling business and "we
will no longer be able to do this." She said she talked
to Scott Donaton, editor of Ad Age, who had been
told the same thing by the conglomerates.
it Dangerous to Give Numbers
Howard Paster, XVP of
WPP and former CEO of its Hill & Knowlton unit, said
WPP lawyers and executives of its PR firms had discussed
the matter long "vigorously" and decided that
the new Sarbanes-Oxley law made it dangerous to give different
numbers to all the rankings since each one has different
rules. Accounting principles (GAAP) vary from country to
country, he noted.
Philippe Krakowsky, spokesman
for Interpublic, said the policy of not taking part in industry
(continued on page 7)
Edition, March 12, 2003, Page 2
LET'S GET IRAQ OVER WITH,
"Let's have this
damn war and get it over with it," Doug Dowie senior
VP at Fleishman-Hillard, told a PRSA/Los Angeles meeting
on Feb. 27 because the uncertainty connected with the Iraq
war has paralyzed client spending.
He expects a "fantastic"
recovery once the war situation has been cleared up so "the
sooner we get there the better off most of us are going
"There is a lot of
Anti-Americanism globally, said Joe Kessler, president of
Weber Shandwick/California. "As an industry, we must
resist the temptation to sell our services cheap just because
the pressure is on," he said. The idea is "to
increase the value of our services. Kessler faulted PR firms
for cutting prices to win clients. "That's the worst
thing we could possibly do, because it devalues us and doesn't
make our services less expensive.
Dowie said the state of
the business is clearly not as good as it was two years
ago. "None of us are growing, especially the larger
agencies, which had been used to phenomenal growth over
the last 20 years," he said. The hard times have had
firms rethink the way they measure success. F-H, he said,
is "profitable, but maintaining those profits has become
more difficult." To offset the high-tech slump, F-H
has stepped up its life sciences push, and expanded its
Is Not Dead
Kessler said high-tech
is not dead. "We are going to see the Microsofts, Ciscos
and the Oracles of the world are still going to be the driving
force of change-more than the General Electrics or General
Motors," he said.
Hill & Knowlton's
Bonnie Goodman exploded the "No. 1 PR myth" that
there is no PR work. "We see it the other way. While
agency work is not recession-proof, we have faired better
than our advertising partners have," said the firm's
Los Angeles general manager. "There are lots of opportunities
for agencies and PR pros to get in and help rebuild businesses,"
she said. For example, she noted that H&K is working
MAGNET'S BRANNAN ATTRACTED
Julia Brannan has joined GCI Group as group VP in its New
York consumer marketing practice. She will handle the Slim-Fast,
Zantac 75 and Lipton Recipe Secrets products.
At Magnet, Brannan worked
on Oxford Health Plans, Lactaid and H.J. Heinz, where she
handled the crisis regarding the launch of the company's
EZ Squirt Blastin' Green ketchup. "News of the introduction
leaked to a small trade journal," Brannan explained.
"We successfully controlled the situation by moving
up the launch date," she said.
Brannan was at R.C. Auletta
Assocs. (with clients Perdue Farms and Hydrodyne Meat Processing)
and Creamer Dickson Basford (Coors Brewing, Kraft Foods
and SmithKline Beecham).
Ellen Golden heads GCI's consumer marketing.
GEORGESON IS UP FOR SALE
Communications, the New York-based proxy solicitation firm,
has retained Goldman Sachs Group to handle the potential
sale of the firm.
The investment bank is
in the process of putting together an offering memorandum
and approaching possible buyers, according to The New York
Post, which said investment bankers, who have not seen the
company's financials, are estimating it would fetch between
$300 million and $400 million. It is likely PR firms will
be among Georgeson's interested suitors. Georgeson established
a corporate governance unit with Fleishman-Hillard this
month to offer "investor perception audits."
Georgeson, whose competitors
include D.F. King, Innisfree M&A, MacKenzie Partners
and Morrow & Co., was ranked No. 1 in terms of proxy
solicitations for doing work on 40 mergers and acquisition
deals in 2002, according to Corporate Control Alert,
a trade publication which compiles the annual rankings.
For the first two months
of this year, M&A activity was down 22% from the same
period a year ago, and down 88% from 2000's record pace,
according to Thomson Financial.
As a shareholder response
firm, Georgeson gets involved in more than M&A solicitation.
Its other activities include corporate governance consulting,
proxy contests, mutual fund solicitation and general issues.
Alexander Miller is chairman/CEO
of Georgeson, which was founded in 1935. Besides New York,
the firm has offices in London, Toronto, Sydney, Johannesburg,
Rome and Milan.
TGG, S-C PITCH WTC FIREFIGHTER
The Graubard Group and Stanton-Crenshaw are doing pro bono
PR work for the Emerald Society of New York City Fire Dept.
which has launched a grassroots campaign to win support
for building a Firefighters' Memorial at the World Trade
Center site to honor the 343 firefighters who died on Sept.
11. (NL Feb. 5). The Society wants a memorial with the name,
rank and badge number of firefighters who died while rescuing
the thousands of people who escaped the inferno.
Bill Pearse, VP at TGG, said he is submitting an op-ed
piece written by former FDNY Commissioner Charlie Hynes
(now Brooklyn District Attorney) to the New York Times
urging the construction of the memorial. Terry Golway has
already written two columns about the firefighter effort
in the New York Observer.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is in charge
of downtown reconstruction, has opposed the firefighter
memorial. It wants one monument for all the Sept. 11 victims.
There has been some movement on that front, say S-C's Carolyn
Daly, a former New York City Hall staffer. LMDC plans to
meet with the Society to discuss matters, she said.
Edition, March 12, 2003, Page 3
FOR MARTHA'S LOSS
Living Omnimedia reported a loss of $2 million for the October-December
period compared with a profit of $5.7 million a year earlier.
It was the
first loss the New York-based business has had since going
public in October 1999. The company also said it will lose
money in the first three months of this year.
For the year,
the company reported its profit fell 67% to $7.2 million
while revenues climbed 2% to $295 million.
Sharon Patrick, president of the company, blasted the media
for its "relentlessly negative coverage" of the
eight-month-old scandal surrounding the company's founder
Martha Stewart, who is the subject of a government investigation
of her stock trading.
cited the "negative media environment" while discussing
a drop in circulation of Martha Stewart Living magazine
and catalog sales during a report to Wall Street analysts.
magazine circulation to continue to decline because of "the
negative impact of the investigations."
Observers say Stewart, who has been front page fodder since
June, when news first broke of selling ImClone shares, bears
some blame for dragging out the story by refusing to answer
questions from reporters and congressmen for eight months,
according to Newsday.
& Forbes on Martha's Case
a communications professor at Dartmouth College's Tuck school
of business, who worked with Stewart in the early 1980s
when he was a consultant to Kmart, singled out Newsweek
and Forbes for publishing the most damaging articles.
Newsweek's July 1 cover story, which was headlined,
"Martha Mess-An Insider Trading Scandal Tarnishes the
Queen of Perfection," appeared to be a rush to judgment
coming three weeks after the ImClone controversy first broke.
ran Stewart's photo on the cover of its 400-richest Americans
issues alongside the word: "Gone!" She had been
on the annual list since 2000.
York Daily News and New York Post together published
approximately 15 front pages during August 2002 that called
attention to a Stewart-related story on the inside pages,
according to Newsday.
provocative headlines such as the Post's "Birthday
Suit-Martha hits 61 and is sued by shareholder" in
its Aug. 3 edtion, "Marthagate- Congress gets tough"
on Aug. 7 and the Daily News' "Martha's New
Mess-Now she's sued for dumping her own stock" in its
Aug. 22 edition.
Newsday said Stewart was referred to as a "diva"
at least once in The New York Times, Wall Street
Journal, Washington Post and Newsday;
none of the papers employed the term in April-May, according
to a search of the newspapers' archives.
three teen magazines claim they have found the editorial
formula for unlocking the profitable teen market.
has a mix of celebrity, products and real-life stories,
the degree to which they present those elements is the difference,
reports Tara Weiss, a reporter for The Hartford Courant.
managing editor of Teen People, which marked its
fifth anniversary last month, said TP is the only teen magazine
that covers pop culture, real life and fashion in one magazine.
we're one of the last real general-interest magazines out
there," O'Dair told Weiss.
who is editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, said her magazine
is filling a void by focusing on fashion, beauty and style.
Teen People uses its teen "trend spotters"
to alert editors to new trends, Teen Vogue tells
its readers what's hot, Astley told Weiss.
want to show them things they're not wearing yet,"
said Astley. "They want to see new stuff, to get inspired.
We consider ourselves to be trend spotters."
issue, featuring rocker Gwen Stefani on the cover, has a
story discussing her new clothing line.
Girl, editor Atoosa Rubenstein is focusing on what she
calls the teen girl's lifestyle.
"We recognized what's missing from the teen market
is a focus on the girl herself," Rubenstein told Weiss.
"All the magazines out at the time we launched focused
on fashion and celebrity. We've owned the area of lifestyle,"
COMMON GOOD IN THE WORKS
Helen O'Donnell, daughter of Kenneth O'Donnell--onetime
aide to President Kennedy--is planning to start a monthly
magazine called Common Good. She has raised about
$25 million for her magazine, which will focus on political
life and public affairs.
Jim Bellows, former editor of the now-defunct New York
Herald Tribune, will be executive editor of CG, which
will be based in Los Angeles.
O'Donnell has contracted with Rubenstein Associates, New
York, to help promote the magazine with pre-launch parties
with the media, political groups, and citizens.
The magazine's name is a spinoff of O'Donnell's new book
"A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy
and Kenneth P. O'Donnell."
O'Donnell told The Los Angeles Times she hopes to
have a mockup done by June and limited newsstand launch
O'Donnell is trying to get the rights to the name George,
a magazine founded by John F. Kennedy Jr., which closed
in March 2001.
news continued on next page)
Edition, March 12, 2003, Page 4
S&P NAMES EDITORS FOR
Joseph Lisanti was promoted to editor-in-chief of Standard
& Poor's The Outlook, and Jane Sandiford was
named managing editor of the investment advisory newsletter
for individuals and financial professionals.
Lisanti, who was senior editor of Physicians Financial
News and mangaging editor of Fact prior to joining
S&P in 1989, is succeeding Arnold Kaufman, who retired.
Sandiford, who joined S&P in 1996 and has been a senior
editor of The Outlook since 2000, is replacing Joseph
Tigue, who also retired.
Beth Piskora and Joseph Radigan were hired as senior editors,
and will join Nilus Mattive, senior editor, who is webmaster
for Outlook Online.
Piskora had been a reporter, editor and columnist for the
business section of The New York Post, and previously
was a reporter at American Banker.
Radigan, who joined the staff in Dec. 2002, had held editorial
positions over the last 16 years at U.S. Banker where
he was senior editor in charge of technology coverage and
editor of its website.
HEILEMANN & BATTELLE JOIN
John Heilemann, author of "Pride Before the Fall:
The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era,"
and John Battelle, the former CEO of The Industry Standard
and co-founder of Wired magazine, will write monthly
columns for Business 2.0 magazine.
Heilemann's column, "Face Time," will debut in
the April issue, and will focus on the leaders of the information
economy-technology, media, and communications.
Starting in the May issue, Battelle will pen a column called
"The Message," offering his take on the intersection
of media, technology, and marketing.
Battelle is currently a visiting professor and director
of the business reporting program at the graduate school
of journalism at the Univ. of California at Berkeley, where
he also is faculty editor of The Big Story, a new
magazine, which analyzes the coverage of one big story that
has lingered in the headlines.
GILES TO EDIT NEWSWEEK'S A&E
Jeff Giles, who joined Newsweek in 1993, was named
its senior editor for arts and entertainment. He will take
over the position which was left empty by the recent death
of Sarah Pettit.
Sean Smith, previously west coast editor of Premiere
Magazine, was hired to cover the entertainment industry
for Newsweek's Los Angeles bureau.
David Gates, who covers arts and entertainment and writes
essays on other cultural topics, was promoted to senior
editor. He will continue his writing and editing assignments,
as well as overseeing the "Newsmakers" page.
David Noonan, also promoted to senior editor, will continue
working in the "Society" section on everything
from healthcare to sports to family issues. David Kaplan
also moves up to senior editor, running the "Enterprise"
Devin Gordon, who covers movies, music, sports and pop
culture, was promoted to general editor.
57, a member of the editorial board of The New York Times,
will become the editorial page editor for the International
Herald Tribune in May, succeeding Robert Donahue, who
is retiring after 22 years.
Oma Ford, previously
editor-in-chief at Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles,
has joined Better Homes & Gardens as senior deputy
editor of home design.
previously at Traditional Home, was named deputy
editor of gardens and outdoor living. Interestingly, McDonald
turned down the same job some 40 years earlier.
editor-in-chief of MBA Jungle, is joining Popular
Science as executive editor.
WTVH-TV ACCUSED OF DISGUISING
Dow Smith, an associate professor of journalism at Syracuse
Univ., has accused WTVH-TV, in Syracuse, of succumbing to
the "pressures of bottom line" by selling airtime,
then packaging it like news.
Granite's ABC affiliate in Buffalo is doing the same thing.
"Having watched WTVH's new "Central New York
Live" at 5 p.m. for a couple of weeks now, I can testify
that it's hard to tell which interviews are legitimate news
and which are paid," said Smith in his "guest
commentary" for Broadcasting & Cable.
The founders of Good
Media Music will start publishing an as-yet unnamed
magazine targeting adults this September.
Editor Alan Light, CEO John Rollins and COO Dana Sacher,
who helped create Vibe magazine, and also managed
Spin, another consumer-oriented music magazine, are
working with World Publications, a Winter Park, Fla.-based
producer of 14 special interest magazines, ranging from
Saveur and Garden Design to Boating Life,
Caribbean Travel & Life and Wake Boarding.
The editorial department of the new magazine will share
New York office space with Saveur.
the San Francisco title that chronicled the dot-com
boom and bust, is closing down, having failed to attract
new funding or a buyer.
Executive editor Duff McDonald and CEO Chris Dobbrow told
31 staffers that the company had no option but to cease
publication of the magazine.
Chris Alden, one of the co-founders, is reported to have
an interest in reviving the title.
Edition, March 12, 2003, Page 7
AD/PR GIANTS NIX RANKINGS
(continued from page 1)
"is the result of
the current reporting environment." He also noted that
GAAP rules differ worldwide.
Peter Himler, spokesman
for WPP-owned Burson-Marsteller, said the firm is obeying
a WPP directive.
IPG PR firms include Weber
Shandwick and Golin/Harris. WPP also owns Ogilvy PR Worldwide
and Cohn & Wolfe.
Omnicom PR firms include
Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and Brodeur Worldwide.
Some sources said European
ad trade publications would be especially hard hit by the
CEOs and CFOs are required
under S-O to state that not only is the information they
provide accurate in all respects but that nothing "material"
has been withheld. They are personally responsible for these
statements and face fines of up to $25 million and jail
sentences in inaccuracies are found.
The CEOs and CFOs are
also supposed to describe the "disclosure controls"
that are used to ensure that the numbers are correct. S-O
encourages continuous disclosure of important information
rather than at specific periods such as quarterly or annually.
S-O was passed last summer
in the wake of the Enron, Worldcom and other corporate scandals.
Federal laws on disclosure replaced state laws.
Sign Off on Numbers
Lawyers for the holding
companies apparently advised the CFOs of PR units that they
would be personally liable for jail sentences and fines
if discrepancies were found in their figures.
The CPRF accepts CFO-attested
ranking figures while this NL requires a W-3 form showing
payroll and number of employees, the top page of income
tax return, CPA letter, and other documentation.
of French-Owned Havas gave figures to the CPRF. Foreign
companies are not presently bound by S-O.
Editors at Ad Age
and Ad Week said they will do their rankings despite
the lack of cooperation by the holding companies. They will
use 2001 figures as a base and come up with revisions based
on news of account changes and well as other sources.
Almost all of the ad agencies
in the rankings of the two publications are owned by the
S-O was passed to increase
disclosure by public companies.
An editor at one ad trade
publication said GAAP differs from country to country but
the differences are minor.
Ad execs say that filling
out the multi-part ranking forms of scores of publications
each year has become a daunting task. However, the big ad
agencies have heavily advertised and promoted their standings
in the various rankings. John Dooner, former CEO of Interpublic,
vowed several years ago that IPG's PR operation would be
The ad trades have said
that 2002 was the worst year for the business in 50 years
and that no upturn is in sight.
CROSS, DURACELL ISSUE SAFETY GUIDE
a flashlight and load up on extra batteries, Duracell recommends
in a new "Family Safety Guide" that it prepared
for the American Red Cross.
is handling publicity and distribution of the new 10-page
guide, for the Bethel, Conn.-based company, which is a subsidiary
Evans, president/CEO of the American Red Cross, unveiled
the new publication at a press conference held March 6 at
the Marriott Hotel in New York, where she launched ARC's
new nationwide campaign to help Americans prepare for emerging
threats and disasters.
is sponsoring the ARC's new "Together We Prepare"
campaign, which includes a nationwide PSA campaign.
Davin, Duracell's PR director, said her company has donated
$500,000 to the ARC for the campaign aimed at providing
families with information and tools to help prepare for
man-made and natural emergencies.
May, the ARC will launch a "Save A Life Tour"
to encourage Americans to help save lives through regular
PR Worldwide is handling publicity for the campaign, which
features two Red Cross truck convoys that will pass through
345 communities in 35 Red Cross regions.
HARBOUR GROUP TALKS FOR TURKEY
The Harbour Group has
a $600K media relations contract from the Government of
Turkey, President Bush's reluctant partner in the impending
war with Iraq. Joel Johnson, managing director and co-founder
of THG, signed the pact. He reports to Timur Soylemez, First
Secretary of Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The pact plays up the
"sensitive nature" of the PR work. THG agrees
to keep its Turkish files "under lock and key"
and limit copies of its material. At Turkey's request, the
firm "shall destroy, whether by cross-shredding and/or
burning certain documents" identified by the Government
that it has in possession.
Johnson was senior advisor
for policy and communications to former President Bill Clinton.
CHIQUITA HIRES REPORTER FOR
Chiquita Brands, the world's
top banana exporter which emerged from Chapter 11 last year
but continues to post quarterly losses, has tapped Bloomberg
reporter Monique Wise as director of IR.
Michael Mitchell, corporate
comms. director for Chiquita, told this NL that Wise will
replace Bill Sandstrom, who has accepted a post at the U.S.
A seven-year Bloomberg
staffer covering Wall Street, 35-year-old Wise is charged
with overseeing the company's interaction with shareholders,
bondholders and analysts.
Edition, March 12, 2003, Page 8
withdrawal of the Big Three conglomerates (WPP, Omnicom,
Interpublic) from the ranking process is the latest
unraveling in their grand scheme to corner the ad/PR market.
The holding companies,
including Havas and Publicis, bought up virtually all the
medium and big ad agencies, leaving advertisers no choice
except to go with a holding company ad shop.
They tried the same thing
in PR but three big firms held out-Edelman PR Worldwide,
Ruder Finn and Waggener Edstrom-plus hundreds of medium
and small-sized PR firms.
Purchase of the PR units
for extravagant prices was one reason for the collapse of
Interpublic's stock price and the steep declines in OMC
and WPP. PR has been the worst performing element in all
Faced with reporting huge
declines in ad revenues and for PR rankings assembled by
their own creature, the Council of PR Firms, the congloms
opted to report no figures at all, decimating the overall
and specialized rankings (cities, product categories) of
There's no doubt that
the rankings are CPRF's main reason for being. This was
an attempt to control the definition of PR (everything but
the kitchen sink) so that the PR units of the congloms would
be far ahead of all other PR firms on the main list and
in all the categories. To this end, the congloms invested
at least $500,000 a year for the past four years-a gigantic
waste of money.
reason given for withdrawing from the rankings of the PR
and ad trade publications-Sarbanes-Oxley-can be questioned.
The Economist (Feb. 1) has called the act "wishy-washy."
Nell Minow of thecorporatelibrary.com
told the 12/12/02 NIRI/PAC credibility seminar that it wouldn't
make "much of a difference" because "almost
any structure can be subverted."
Time mag (Feb.
3) said outgoing SEC head Harvey Pitt was "watering
down" tough rules including the one barring CPAs from
getting consulting fees from their CPA clients.
In this business-friendly
Administration (SEC is now headed by the former chairman
of the New York Stock Exchange), whether S-O will be enforced
Public companies have
ignored disclosure initiatives before including the "plain
English" dictum of the SEC dating back to the 1970s
and the recent "Reg FD" (Fair Disclosure). Press
conferences such as the one President Bush held March 6
aren't on the agendas of the ad/PR holding companies.
David Bell, the new CEO
of Interpublic, told the March 6 analyst teleconference
that he is "committed to communications internally
and to the financial community" (pointedly leaving
out the press and public).
Bell has promised new
policies. We'd like to see him hold press conferences and
identify IPG's 200+ "mystery acquisitions" (we're
not even told what industry many of them are in).
Ironically, S-O, which
the congloms cite as the reason for non-disclosure, is supposed
to improve disclosure.
annual financial report issued 2/24 was a repeat of last
year's obfuscating document (3/13/02 NL). Reported
on its first page are four different types of profits: before
taxes, goodwill and impairment; before fixed asset gains;
before investment write-downs, and before interest. "Headline"
earnings are announced. Only by turning to page 12 of a
30-page report can a journalist find the true earnings in
a column of 27 types of financial statistics.
The earnings are 7.7 British
pence per share, down 67.5%. This report, which badly needs
an editor, is an obstacle course for journalists and doesn't
Lehman Brothers (8/28/02
NL) criticized WPP reporting practices as "sometimes
flattering or inaccurate." Among other things, it said
WPP's free cash flow in 2001 was not 504 million British
pounds as claimed by WPP but "approximately zero."
It called "somewhat unhelpful" the fact that WPP
spent £700M on acquisitions in 2001 and decided none
were "material." It's "less clear where growth
is coming from," Lehman added.
is the operative word in ad circles these days. The
exact same client message must be hammered home for ads
to work and companies to be "branded." No deviation
can be allowed. But the disclosure policies of IPG and OMC
flop wildly. IPG announced (5/8/02 NL) that PR would no
longer be reported on as a separate category (it was merged
into "marketing communications"). But it then
broke out PR for Q3, saying it was down 18%. With the 2002
report, PR is again submerged into marketing communications.
IPG refused to break out
PR when asked. Similarly, OMC, in a move to be more transparent,
revealed the names of 17 acquisitions in the first half
(8/14/02 NL). Now it is back to not identifying acquisitions.
When the story of the Big Three is written, there must be
a chapter on how the near complete lack of PR hurt them.
Johnson, head of the Los Angeles office of Golin/Harris
International, told a PRSA/LA gathering of PR leaders
Feb. 27 that what people want from companies is "honesty,
integrity, accountability, transparency, two-way communications,
products that fill real and perceived needs and not to have
scandals out in the public." PR firms and PR departments
"need to be accountable" for the money they're
spending, she said.