Edition, March 10, 2004, Page 1
SONY PLUGS INTO RF.
has named Ruder Finn for its line of VAIO notebook/desktop
computers, CLIE handhelds, Cyber-shot digital cameras and
Switzer, managing director of Ruder Finn/San Francisco,
and Kristin Greene, VP, are responsible for the account.
They will be supported by consumer technology staffers in
RF's New York and Los Angeles offices.
Griswold, PR director of Sony's PC, display, handheld, digital
imaging products, personal audio and mobile electronics
offerings, cited RF's media relations strengths and "team
chemistry" among reasons for its selection.
Edelman has won the Almond Board of California's $1 million
food service and industrial sector PR account after a three-month
review that included 15 firms. Ketchum was the incumbent.
Work begins in August based in the firm's San Francisco
office. Nicole Didda, general manager of Edelman/San Francisco,
told this NL the office will be assisted by Edelman/Sacramento
and its Chicago food practice.
She noted Edelman's work is focused on the "B2B"
segment of the board's marketing, targeting industry professionals
like food technicians, nutritionists and chefs.
Porter Novelli handles consumer PR, the second half of
the Almond Board's PR. That segment was not up for review,
but PN adds duties for Western Europe after a three-month
review of nine firms.
B-M EDUCATES OHIO VOTERS.
Burson-Marsteller is slated to head a proposed $15.3 million
PR and advertising campaign aimed at educating Ohio voters
about new voting machines on the horizon.
The effort, proposed by Secy. of State Ken Blackwell, would
be a state-wide, 18-month push.
Ohio wants to have new electronic voting machines in place
by November 2005 to comply with a new federal law requiring
punch-card and lever-action machines to be phased out by
Among the logistics of the plan are media tours, advertising
and other efforts like direct mail, paycheck inserts and
an "embedded" media program.
TREASURY SELECTS WEBER
The U.S. Treasury Dept. has selected Weber Shandwick for
a campaign to encourage people to use direct deposit for
their benefit payments.
Alvina McHale, spokesperson for the Treasury, told O'Dwyer's
a budget won't be determined until WS huddles with Wirthlin
Worldwide in mid-March. She said the Treasury Dept. hired
WW about a year ago to explore the emotional aspects that
people attach to receiving a paper check from the federal
Officials of the Federal Reserve and Social Security Admin.
also were involved in the selection process.
The Treasury Dept.'s Financial Management Service unit
distributes $1.7 trillion a year to 100 million Americans.
Nearly eighty percent of recipients opt for direct deposit,
and it is WS' job to convert the rest. McHale says an electronic
deposit is 62 cents cheaper than preparing and mailing a
EDELMAN IS EVEN AT
$206M FOR 2003.
Edelman PR Worldwide, the largest independent PR firm by
a wide margin, held steady at $206 million in fees in 2003.
Its 2002 fees were $205.7M.
Ruder Finn, second largest at $79.1M, gained 7.3%.
It spun off RFBinder Partners, which reported $7.8M in fees,
About an equal number of firms in the top 50 reported either
double-digit gains or double-digit decreases as business
conditions continued to be difficult for the PR counseling
industry. (Table on page 7.)
Among the big gainers were Waggener Edstrom, up 17.7% to
$69.7M; Padilla Speer Beardsley, up 16% to $9.5M; Dittus
Comms., up 26% to $8M; PainePR, up 13% to $7.9M; Cooney/Waters,
up 16.8% to $7.8M; Peppercom, up 24% to $7M; M Booth, up
10.9% to $6.4M; Sloane & Co., up 10.9% to $6.3M, and
Spectrum Science, up 34% to $6.4M.
New to the list is Qorvis, Washington, D.C., with $12.2M
in fees, whose clients include Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 110 independent PR operations provided proofs of
the fees and employees in the form of top pages of income
tax returns, W-3 forms showing total payroll, account lists
and other documents.
to Publish Rankings in `Categories'
The Council of PR Firms, meanwhile, which gave up its annual
ranking of PR firms after the publicly held ad/PR conglomerates
ordered their PR units not to release any figures, said
it will publish a ranking of firms by broad categories of
There will be seven categories: $100 million+; $50-$99M;
$25-$49.9M; $10-$24.9M; $4-$9.9M; $1M-$3.9M, and below $999,999.
Firms will be allowed to include up to 10% of their fees
in commissions from corporate and issue ads. The entire
income is counted if a firm owns more than 50% of another
firm. Revenues of acquired firms are included as of the
date of the acquisition.
The conglomerates had cited the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as the
reason for preventing their PR units from releasing figures.
Under SOX, all released figures have to be in conformity
with GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles). Such
principles vary from country to country.
Lou Capozzi, chairman of the Council, said that "Ironically,
the Act that was made to encourage openness and disclosure,
has resulted in less disclosure."
Companies that disclose false figures face fines and their
executives face jail terms.
Among the firms with double-digit declines were Schwartz
Comms., off 17.7% to $16M; Hoffman Agency, off 30.9% to
$8.2M; KCSA PR, off 17% to $6.3M; Vollmer PR, off 9.6% to
$5.7M; PAN Comms., off 14% to $5M, and Morgan&Myers,
off 15% to $4.9M.
Rankings of ad agency-related PR operations not owned by
the ad agency conglomerates will be published next week.
Edition, March 10, 2004, Page 2
UNIV. OF COLO. RECRUITS
The University of Colorado, embroiled in a widely covered
sexual assault and athletic recruiting scandal, has hired
Denver-based GBSM for PR support.
The school's high-profile football team is under the gun
for charges of rape and using sex and alcohol to lure recruits
to the program.
The university's board of regents March 4 approved a $450K
emergency funding proposal that included $100K for GBSM's
A spokeswoman for the school told this NL media inquiries
have deluged PR staffers at the University's four campuses,
which have "banded together" as a single unit
for the crisis. She said GBSM is serving an advisory role
through the president's office and is not handling direct
calls from reporters. She noted that the school was the
subject of 135 individual print news stories on a single
day in late February.
The school, which is under investigation by local officials,
the state attorney general (at the behest of Gov. Bill Owens)
and the university's own board, has hired John DiBiaggio,
former president of Tufts, Michigan and Connecticut universities
who has been involved in efforts to probe problems in college
athletics, as a liaison. Congress has scheduled hearings
for March 11 on college recruiting tactics.
GBSM was founded by John Baron, former press secretary
to Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.).
PR21 `SUSPENDS' LONDON
PR21 says it "suspended" its London office, and
will re-enter the European PR arena when the market rebounds.
Jerry Epstein, CEO of the Edelman spin-off, said the London
operation, which it acquired from Rowland in `00, had "diminished
to the point where there is no other option" but to
shut it down. PR21 has decided that its growth is centered
in the U.S.
The firm's London fee income dropped 51 percent to $2.1M
last year. That is in sharp contrast to the 11.4 percent
hike in the U.S.
PR21/San Francisco, which is headed by former Hill &
Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard and FitzGerald Comms. veteran
John Berard, posted the biggest gain in the U.S., up 24.6
percent to $2.6M. New York was down 9.3 percent to $5.3M.
PR21's overall fees dipped 5.9 percent to $14.7M.
KEKST HELPS KKR
WITH SEALY DEAL.
Kekst & Co. is handling media for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
& Co., the equity giant with plans to acquire bedding
leader Sealy in a $1.5 billion deal.
New York-based KKR and Sealy management would acquire 92
percent of Sealy in the deal announced last week. Bain Capital
bought Sealy in 1997 for $830 million.
Kekst partners Ruth Pachman and David Lilly are handling
press inquiries for KKR regarding the acquisition, which
Sealy shareholders have approved.
Mullen handles PR for the company.
BIG BIZ FIGHTS
The Coalition for Economic Growth and American Jobs, a newly
formed Big Business-backed entity, is fighting anti-outsourcing
legislation, and may hire a national PR firm to get its
message across that globalization is a benefit to this country's
At least 80 bills have been introduced in 30 states to
try to stem the halt of manufacturing and white collar jobs
being sent overseas.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news last week
about creation of the anti-outsourcing bill coalition. It
identified the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable,
National Assn. of Manufacturers, American Bankers Assn.
and the Information Technology Assn. of America as key backers
of the Coalition.
Harris Miller, president of the ITAA, says the Coalition
needs aggressive PR because outsourcing has become such
a hot political issue.
Hill & Knowlton has been active on the outsourcing
front as representative of India's software sector.
PN TAPS MacLELLAN FOR
Porter Novelli has brought in technology editor Andrew MacLellan
in Boston to head its work for semiconductor giant Analog
MacLellan, a Silicon Valley and Boston technology media
veteran, was editor-in-chief of CMP-Media's Electronic Buyer's
News and earlier was at Electronic News. He heads up PN's
Advanced Technology Division for the East Coast in addition
to the Analog work.
Omnicom's PN has handled PR for Norwood, Mass.-based AD
for three years.
The Avenue Group has hired Rubenstein Assocs. to boost the
profile of the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company that has
oil and gas interests in Turkey. John Henderson, who reps
Avenue from the 50-year-old firm's New York headquarters,
would only say he is helping with "general PR."
Avenue, on Jan. 29, hired PMR and Assocs. (Del Mar, Calif.)
for PR and business development. It issued a release praising
PMR head Patrick Rost's "strong track record of representation
of NASDAQ and OTC Bulletin Board clients." The release
quoted Avenue CEO Levi Mochkin calling PMR a "suitable
partner" that will provide Avenue the services it is
"seeking to take Avenue to the next level and beyond."
Rost said he would not comment about Rubenstein's hire.
Mochkin told O'Dwyer's he hired Rubenstein because it can
achieve PR results that others can't.
Sandra Saias, who was
deputy general manager/ creative director at Edelman PR
Worldwide's consumer marketing group, is now executive
VP at Ogilvy PR Worldwide. She is in charge of the Chicago
consumer marketing practice.
At Edelman, Saias co-led its tourism and lifestyle group,
counseling Mutual of Omaha, Microsoft, Expedia, Cranium
and Unilever's Dove and Axe brands.
Edition, March 10, 2004, Page 3
BOMBARDED BY E-MAIL.
Michael Getler, public editor at The Washington Post,
said a "good chunk" of the e-mail he gets every
day comes from members of special interest groups that are
publicizing an issue and advocating a canned e-mail response.
Mark Glaser, who writes for the Online Journalism Review,
said Getler sometimes gets 1,000+ e-mails on a hot topic.
Getler said many special interest groups have " media
watch groups," who are paid to read and look for things
in newspapers and then send advisories to all members of
the special interest groups saying, "Such and such
a paper has said this in this fashion and you should write
to the editor or ombudsman."
"It does not mean the points are not valid,"
said Getler. "It just means it has enormously expanded
the amount of mail you get."
He believes these e-mail letters have less impact than
people who write as individuals, and who come to these observations
and complaints on their own.
"Many of the e-mails are not really relevant to anything
you're doing," said Getler.
Daniel Okrent, the first public editor at The New York
Times, has an assistant, Arthur Bovino, to help manage
the heavy load of correspondence.
Each e-mail message a reader sends to Okrent at [email protected]
gets an auto-reply assuring the sender their message will
While e-mail makes it easier for people to let their views
be known, it "multiples the volume beyond anyone's
possible comprehension," said Okrent, who also still
prefers to get letters written on a piece of paper and delivered
by the postman because "it takes more thought and care."
Jeffrey Dvorkin, who is the ombudsman for National Public
Radio, said "the flow of e-mail is now so intense that
it limits the ability to respond in a thoughtful way to
Dvorkin told Glaser he reads all of his e-mails. "When
political or cultural blogs tell their adherents to e-mail
the ombudsman, the first 50 or 60 e-mails are impressive.
The repetitious nature of the e-mails tends to be counterproductive
after a while," he said.
FSB WRITER SEEKS
`FRESH STORY IDEAS.'
Kemp Powers, who was recently sent to Los Angeles to write
stories for Fortune Small Business (FSB), is looking for
"fresh story ideas, especially about entrepreneurs
in the West," said Dan Goodgame, who is managing editor
Powers, who will travel throughout the West and beyond
to get a story, will cover "all aspects of the entrepreneurial
experience: successful startups, instructive screwups, philantropists,
scammersyou name it," said Goodgame, who is based
in New York.
The 30-year-old Powers, who had previously been a writer
at Forbes, likes to write about family businesses. "They
were usually stories no one else had done, and you didn't
have to go through PR people. You deal directly with the
owners, who were usually very open and friendly, and you
could weave a human narrative," said Powers.
He collaborated with Brandon Copple, a new FSB contributor,
to write the lead story in the March issue about a family-owned
Colorado firm that has won consumer trust for its all-natural
beef and is seeing brisk demand amid the mad cow scare,
Powers is at [email protected].
LA.com debuts this
month as the insider's guide to Los Angeles on where to
go, what to do, and what's new.
Editor-in-chief Laurie Pike will lead LA.com's editorial
team that will report daily on what's new and noteworthy
in L.A., filtering news, reviews and content, as well as
sharing the latest scoop and gossip.
Pike, who has helmed several consumer publications, including
Glue and The Los Angeles Times' magazine Distinction,
said the website's editorial mission is to "capture
the city in real-time for an audience that demands more
than the standard fare."
LA.com will debut with 30+ themed guides, which include
information on shopping, dining and nightlife, as well as
tips such as what to order, how to get into an industry-only
sample sale and where to find secret parking spots.
The service was developed by MediaNews Group's California
Newspapers Partnership, which also includes Gannett and
Stephens Media Group.
which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, will start a
new weekly column called "The Great Innovators."
The one-page features will showcase innovators, past and
present, who have made their mark in business, including
science, technology, management, marketing, finance and
Cargo, a shopping magazine
for men, made its national debut March 9.
The magazine, which will publish six times in 2004, will
be targeted at 25 to 45-year-old males, with money to buy
The editorial content in the 210-page debut issue, which
features a section on digital video cameras, skews about
50% fashion and grooming.
Ariel Foxman, 30, is editor of the Conde Nast magazine.
Chow magazine is planning
a launch in November as a rival to Martha Stewart's Everyday
Jane Goldman, a former editor of the now-defunct Industry
Standard, is starting the magazine, which will offer
how-to cooking tips and recipes, and information about food.
Tribeza magazine in Austin,
Tex., celebrated its third birthday on March 6 with an issue
of more than 100 pages and nearly 100 advertisers.
The magazine was started by Zarhun Dean, 32, who was born
in Afghanistan and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 8
years old after his father, a pilot of the Afghani airline,
fled the country during the Russian occupation.
The magazine covers everything from art, architechture,
beauty, community, cuisine, entertainment, and fashion.
Dean, who is editor, is in the process of hiring a managing
editor, according to Michelle DeCrane, VP/marketing.
Dean can be pitched at 512/474-4711.
Bob Schieffer, who
hosts "Face the Nation" every Sunday on CBS,
said a good interview is when the person being interviewed
"makes some news, when he says something that he hasn't
Equally important, is when that person gives a good explanation
of what it is he stands for or what it is he has taken a
certain position, Schieffer told the Poynter Institute.
His favorite follow-up questions are: "What do you
mean by that?" and "Well, give me some examples."
Discovery Home & Leiusre
Channel in Silver Spring, Md., will undergo a transformation
when it debuts as Discovery Home Channel on March 29.
Programming categories on DHC will include decorating, landscaping,
entertaining, home improvement and how-to subjects of particular
appeal to women.
David Karp, SVP/general manager, oversees the programming.
Media Industry Newsletter
is starting a new monthly report on advertising on March
Ann Cooper, former creative editor at Adweek and
founder of Ad Age's Creativity Magazine, was
named editor of the Advertising Report, published
by Potomac, Md.-based PBI Media.
The Ad Report will consist of ad statistics, interviews
with the leading ad agency executives, media planners and
corporate marketers and will cover the brands and people
on the radar and under the radar.
Cooper can be reached by e-mail at [email protected],
or at 212/621-4833.
(Media news continued on next page)
Edition, March 10, 2004, Page 4
AUTO PR DEPTS. GOOBLE
Keith Bradsher, former Detroit bureau chief of The New
York Times, who now heads the paper's Hong Kong bureau,
is not surprised by the number of reporters who are hired
as auto publicists.
Bradsher, who wrote a book about SUVs called "High
and Mighty," said it is hard for news organizations
to hold on to people against the considerably larger salaries,
and much better benefits that the auto industry offers.
He said The Associated Press has lost five out of its last
seven auto writers to working for the PR arms of the automakers.
"The strange result is that you go to a press conference
one week, and you're standing next to somebody who's asking
questions, and the next week they're standing next to the
executive receiving the questions," he said in an interview
with the host of "On the Media," which airs on
Since many publications are dependent on automobile ads,
it does have "a chilling effect on coverage,"
but it varies by the news organization, he said.
The auto industry definitely places ads in media outlets
that they perceive as providing a friendly or conducive
environment for their products, he said.
AUTHOR OF ANTI-SUV
Adam Penenberg, the author of "Tragic Indifference:
One Man's Battle with the Auto Industry Over the Dangers
of SUVs," claims an article about him was pulled by
an editor at Fast Company out of fear of alienating
John Byrne, editor-in-chief of FC, said Penenberg's charge
was untrue, and accused him of trying to get publicity for
his new book, which recalls when Ford Explorers equipped
with Firestone tires were involved in a growing number of
fatal rollover accidents.
WDSI, a Fox TV station in Chattanooga, Tenn., is shutting
down its news department. The station will continue to televise
local news during its 10 p.m. time slot, but it will originate
from WTVC, the local ABC affiliate.
Rupert Murdoch is consolidating operations of his two New
York-area TV stations, with plans to move most operations
of WWOR (Ch. 9) from Secaucus, N.J., to the Fox Channel
5's studios on East 67th street in Manhattan.
American Style, a magazine for craft enthusiasts
and collectors, is going bimonthly after 10 years as a quarterly.
The April 2004 edition, the first in the new publication
cycle, went on newsstands Feb. 24.
Hope Daniels, who is editor-in-chief, said the magazine
will undergo a number of editorial changes over the coming
year, including an expanded "Arts Travel" department.
The magazine, which has a circulation of 60,000, was started
by The Rosen Group, a Baltimore-based company, in 1995.
Pearson, which owns The Financial Times, said the
"outlook for our business newspapers remains uncertain"
due to the decline in advertising.
The London-based publisher said ad revenues at the FT, which
had an operating loss in 2003, fell by 4% in the first two
months of the year.
Edition, March 10, 2004, Page 7
Edition, March 10, 2004 Page 8
Corporate board members
"turn into meek conformists, valuing unity over
truth," writes James Surowiecki in the March 8 New
His probe of the pathology of boardrooms echoes boardroom
expert Nell Minow's remark last year that board members
lose "half their I.Q.'s " and all of their "courage."
Surowiecki is trying to find out why the boards of Worldcom,
Enron, Tyco, etc., did nothing to halt the abuses that rocked
those companies and cost investors hundreds of millions
of dollars. Nearly every board vote at Enron was unanimous,
For openers, he says that boards are often kept in the
dark about important matters (e.g., year-end bonuses to
Tyco executives given months before the end of the year).
But the worst force in operation is the crushing conformity.
Dissent is seen as harmful. Surowiecki says people in small
groups fall prey to "group think...they become increasingly
sure their collective judgment is infallible. They listen
mainly to each other and they emphasize the need for consensus...
living in a kind of echo chamber of their own opinions."
Surowiecki wants "independent directors" who
have access to "a reasonable amount of information."
Exhibit A of a conforming, insular board is that of PR
Society of America. It ignores the wisdom of Sarbanes-Oxley,
which orders public companies to appoint outsiders to the
board (a policy that many non-profits are also following).
Perhaps the high point (or low point) in board control
was reached in 2003 under president Reed Byrum who gave
seat assignments to the directors, distributed a book on
proper board behavior to them, and subjected them to a two-hour
lecture on the same topic by a meeting "facilitator."
Board members were warned, as usual, never to talk to the
press about PRSA matters. Only the PRSA president is allowed
to make a speech or express an opinion. The board never
voted on whether PRSA should back Nike in Nike vs. Kasky.
Director Jeff Seideman, who publicly opposed that stance,
was not nominated to the next board. He ran from the floor
of the Assembly but was defeated. The message was that dissent
will be punished.
Jonah Bloom, executive editor of Advertising Age,
rapped PRSA president Del Galloway March 1 for giving a
"confusing" message about PR.
Galloway, in a letter to AA Feb. 23, said PR is "about
building relationships between people and organizations,
opening and maintaining multi-layered communications channels
and helping organizations and individuals to avoid or manage
Bloom, former editor of PR Week, said Galloway's
"high falutin-but-confusing message" ignores PR's
traditional role of "embedding brands in editorial
content" that has been "the mainstay of the PR
business for more than a century."
Clients like General Motors and Procter & Gamble want
mentions in editorial space rather than "zappable"
commercial space, says Bloom.
Galloway gave PRSA's usual mass media-avoiding definition
of PR. The Society, emerging from its cocoon to express
itself on various issues, is going to run into a lot of
trouble telling editors that there are plenty of other ways
to reach audiences and "build relationships" besides
the media. Another indication of this "who needs the
media?" attitude is the fact that only 5% of the questions
on PRSA's new multiple-choice APR exam are on "media
relations." PRSA also shows its disdain for media relations
by not having a PR director for the past nine months.
The Council of PR
Firms (page one story) is making a stab at providing
statistics of some sort for member firms owned by public
companies by saying it will report them in broad categories
(such as $100 million+). But we won t know which of the
50 or so firms involved are up or down. We don t think Sarbanes-Oxley's
insistence that GAAP has to be followed for reporting numbers
pertains to items such as payroll and employee totals. But
the public ad agencies (WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic, etc.)
think otherwise. Meanwhile, the firms that reveal their
figures each year and back them up with income tax returns,
W-3 statements and other documents (page 7), have an edge
PRSA (page 6) has
berated the FCC for proposing $275,000 fines for companies
that broadcast "obscene" materials. President
Del Galloway wants the FCC to provide "clear definitions"
of what is obscene. This is a no-brainer.
No one, not even the Supreme Court, has even been able
to define what is "obscene." Is the FCC supposed
to publish a list of four-letter words and bodily parts
that cannot be mentioned? PRSA, in its disastrous backing
of Nike in Nike/Kasky, in the definition of PR it gave to
Ad Age, and in this demand that obscenity be defined, is
revealing its naivete in venturing into the strange (for
it) territory of public opinion and debate...PRSA, before
lecturing others on the right thing to do, should clean
its own house starting with re-writing its member recruitment
materials to point out that new members, until they pay
$275 and pass the APR test, are deprived of fundamental
rights such as being able to serve on the national board
or in the Assembly or even speaking to the Assembly.