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Internet Edition, June 2, 2004, Page 1

The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts chain has awarded its $500,000-plus PR account to London-based PRCo, a firm that specializes in luxury travel.
Ruder-Finn resigned the account with the April 30 expiration of its contract. It had worked on the business for six years, but decided it was time to call it quits because the account had "become more tactical and less strategic," Richard Funess, president RF/Americas, told O'Dwyer's.

RF recorded nearly $280K in fees/expenses during its final six months of work for the Toronto-based hotel chain.

PRCo will service the North American market for Four Seasons from its Conran PRCo unit in New York. Gayle Conran, who merged her firm into PRCo, leads the Four Seasons business. She is assisted by Jenny Matrosovs, who joined the firm from National PR in Toronto.

David Sutphen, who was senior VP at the Recording Industry Assn. of America, has joined Viacom as VP-government affairs in its Washington, D.C., office. He reports to senior VP Carol Melton.

Sutphen had handled copyright and technology issues at the RIAA, and advised music industry execs on regulatory issues. Previously, he served on the staffs of Sen. Ten Kennedy and Rep. Harold Ford.

Viacom made news last week with plans for its MTV unit to launch LOGO, the first cable TV network aimed at the gay and lesbian market.

Financial Dynamics has added Mark McCall, who worked for a dozen years at Burson-Marsteller and Edelman, to its executive roster. He joins as senior VP, responsible for new business, and clients in the consumer finance and insurance sectors.

McCall has advised companies on overall corporate positioning, and has been involved in transaction work in the areas of mergers & acquisitions, restructurings, corporate governance and crisis situations.

Declan Kelly, president of FD/U.S., singled out McCall's "corporate experience in operations and finance," in announcing the new hire.

FD says it has more than 300 professionals handling 400-plus clients. The firm calls its London and New York units its "hub offices."

Interpublic Group of Cos. will move seven of its far-flung Los Angeles units into the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood this August.

Hitting the road are Weber Shandwick, Rogers & Cowan, celebrity firm PMK/HBH, entertainment specialist Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, event planner Momentum Worldwide, marketing agency Jack Morton Worldwide, media programmer MAGNA Global and direct response unit ID Media.

Besides cost savings, the centralized location may help Interpublic CEO David Bell attain another of his goals: more cross-selling of services.


Scandal-tainted DPL Inc. has retained Kekst & Co. to spread word of a new corporate openness in the wake of allegations that its top management looted the company and enforced a code of secrecy.

CEO Stephen Koziar, chairman Peter Forster and interim CFO Caroline Muhlenkamp resigned from the board of the utility May 17, the day that it met to discuss an internal probe that alleged top executives hid compensation from shareholders, billed the company for undocumented travel and enforced secrecy from their homes in Florida. DPL is the parent of Dayton Power & Light. The Securities & Exchange Commission launched its own probe May 18.

Fred Spar of Kekst told O Dwyer's that DPL is now committed to greater disclosure, more communication and an improved corporate culture.

Omnicom Group has increased the pay of its ten directors because the time they spend on governance matters has increased, CEO John Wren told the annual meeting in Atlanta May 25.

The board has been "well underpaid for a long time and we adjusted it to a reasonable basis," he told the 24 people who attended the meeting of the world's biggest ad conglomerate in a room at OMC's BBDO unit.

Wren has said that the meeting has been moved from New York to other locations in the U.S. to give local stockholders a chance to attend and ask questions.

Two stockholders and one person acting as a proxy for stockholder Jack O Dwyer of this newsletter asked questions at the 25-minute meeting.

Internet Edition, June 2, 2004, Page 2


Keating & Co. has been hired by Saudi Prince Faisal bin Salman to refute charges in two best-selling books that his deceased brother was a liaison between Al-Qaeda and the Saudi government.

Rick Keating, president of the Florham Park, N.J.-based firm, told O Dwyer's K&C was recommended for the assignment based on past work in the global sector; reviewed the background of Prince Ahmed bin Salman, and accepted the work. He said his firm has coordinated with the Saudi Embassy's PR firm, Qorvis Comms., but stressed the work on behalf of the deceased Ahmed was outside the Beltway and "unequivocally" non-governmental.

Ahmed, a well-known thoroughbred owner whose stable included War Emblem, the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, died of a heart attack in 2002.

Two books, "House of Bush, House of Saud" by Craig Unger, and "Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11" by Gerald Posner suggest Ahmed was named by an Al-Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan as an intermediary between the Saudis and bin Laden's terror group. Posner's tome suggests Ahmed may have known about the Sept. 11 attacks in advance.

Keating said he interviewed a CIA counter-terrorism official who said the suggestions were false.

War Emblem's former trainer and Prince Faisal have both told news outlets that Ahmed was more interested in horses than politics. Faisal has said linking his brother to Al-Qaeda was like calling Ronald Reagan a closet communist.

In a statement put out by Keating, Faisal said: "Not a single, solitary government official or media source has ever come forward with any evidence linking Prince Ahmed to any criminal activity. But that fact has not stopped Unger, Posner and the media from accepting the outrageous claims at face value."

Keating kicked off his PR push to restore the reputation following the running of this year's Derby.

A new study commissioned by Robert Half Legal found the use of PR firms by law offices is on the rise in the U.S. Increasingly, law firms are implementing integrated marketing and sales campaigns to generate new business opportunities, the company's just-released white paper titled "New Perspectives on the Business of Law" shows.

"Law offices are hiring senior marketing executives and placing PR agencies on retainer to build a strong brand image, better market their services and raise awareness with target client groups," said Sheron Hindley-Smith, who is executive director of the legal staffing service, which periodically commissions surveys of attorneys and legal administrators, interviews experts and conducts research to determine how law offices will operate in the future.

The results are available at

PR can t work by itself, David Finn, one of the founders of Ruder Finn, told the Westchester/Fairfield (Conn.) chapter of PRSA this month. He recalled a client who had invented a plastic zipper and wanted coverage in Life magazine because someone told him that would make the product a success.

"It took us a year and a lot of imagination to make a story of it and get the attention of the magazine," said Finn. But the client was upset because sales didn t boom, he recalled.

"He had no marketing plan, no sales team, and no promotional material," said Finn. "He thought one article in Life would mean success."

PR's job is to "present the client's case to the public," said Finn.

PR pros are not like lawyers who can argue any case and expect the judge or jury to make the final decision, said Finn.

"We shouldn t try to communicate something that we don t believe in's especially gratifying when we work on worthy projects that are in the public interest," he added.

Helped Israel in Six-Day War

One of the highlights of Finn's career was helping Israel in the 1967 "Six-Day War."

"When the Six-Day War threatened to crush Israel, we turned our whole office over for a crisis campaign," he said. "Almost overnight we won massive support. The sympathy for Israel was enormous."

Prime Minister Eshkol thanked him personally for what RF had accomplished.

Another high point of Finn's career was helping \ President Kennedy to win Senate approval of the Nuclear Arms Treaty with the former Soviet Union.

Michael Jackson is alive and kicking, says his publicist Raymone Bain, who is fielding media calls from throughout the world asking whether the King of Pop is a goner.

New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove profiled Bain May 24 in an item called "Jacko rep's wacko PR."

He considers her "Michael Jackson is not dead" press release an "instant classic among PR professionals, who today look forward to Bain's literary efforts with the lip-licking eagerness of connoisseurs."

One rival publicist regards Bain's "prolific output with shock and awe," wrote Grove.

The publicist told Grove: "When you have a client who is clearly three sandwiches short of a picnic, you need to protect him with grace and dignity. And a press release that announces to the world that your client is not dead certainly reinforces the notion that he's a total nutbar."

Bain is principal at Davis, Bain and Assocs. in Washington, D.C. She has represented Serena Williams and former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.

Jackson's website praises her as "one of the finest and most knowledgeable publicists in the industry."

Internet Edition, June 2, 2004, Page 3


Letters are received at the rate of roughly a thousand a day at The New York Times, according to Thomas Feyer, letters editor for the past five years.

"My small staff and I try to read them all, but we can publish only about 15 letters a day," said Feyer, who offered these pointers:

—Write concisely and engagingly. "We re in an age of fast-moving news and virtually instant reaction; letters about an especially timely topic often appear within a day or two.

—When writing about a particularly contenious issue, bear in mind that many others do so as well. "We can try to capture a sense of what's on readers minds, but we can t be comprehensive."

—The suggested length for letters is 150 words.
In selecting letters to use, Feyer said he tries to present a fair sampling of reader opinion, as well as a balance of views, pro and con. "Writers to The Times—by no means all, certainly, but a clear majority—tend to be liberal, often vociferously so.
"Among our letter writers, critics of the Bush Administration, especially over the war in Iraq, outnumber its defenders by a substantial margin," he said.

"On same-sex marriage, proponents far outnumber opponents among letter writers. But there is more of a divide on other national issues, like abortion, affirmative action and immigration."

He said the paper welcomes opinions from all sides.

"If your letter is selected, we will try to reach you and ask a few questions: Did you write the letter? Is it exclusive to the Times? (It should be.) Do you have a connection to the subject you re writing about?"

Feyer said facts are verified, either by his staff or asking writers for sources of information.

The letters "come in many flavors: an official's response to criticism; a statement of policy, printed for the record or for its news value; a view that we feel adds an interesting perspective or expertise to the debate," said Feyer, who pointed out publication should not be taken as an endorsement of the letter's view by the Times.

Strum Does 'Advance Obits'

Chuck Strum, who is the obituary editor of the Times, gets some of his advance obituary writing assignment ideas by watching famous people on TV and going to public events.

"I look at people and think, `That guy's over 70. We ought to look into that," Strum told an interviewer for Time Out New York magazine.

Strum, 56, who took over as obit editor three years ago, said the Times has about 1,200 advance obituaries on file.

He said the Times has a discretionary policy about interviewing important figures in advance of their obituary. "There are people with egos large enough that they want to revisit their life story. It's my view that kind of interview can be counterproductive. If you sent someone to the office of a well-known politician, he might easily tell you that he was misinterpreted for many years, and it's all spin," he said.

Strum said people who talk about wanting a Times obit when they die are "the same people who try to influence the obituary that might be written."


A staff of veteran IT journalists, led by Doug Barney, will run Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine, which is being renamed Redmond Magazine.
Barney, who was recently editor-in-chief of Network Computing, a biweekly publication, was named editor-in-chief of the Chatsworth, Calif.-based magazine, which has a BPA-audited circulation in excess of 114,000 readers.

Joining Barney as editor is Paul Desmond, who has been working as an IT reporter and editor since 1988.

Scott Bekker, previously editor-in-chief at ENT magazine, was named news editor, and Keith Ward, who had been a senior editor of Microsoft Certified Professional, was promoted to managing editor.

Barney can be reached at 978/582-0066.

Willie Neuman, previously a reporter for The New York Post, has joined The New York Times to write a new real estate news column called "Big Deal" for the Sunday edition, starting June 6.

Elaine Kramer has resigned as managing editor of The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel. Kramer, who has held the job since May 2001, said, "I just want to be home with my kids."

Sara Nelson, previously a freelance writer and contributor to The New York Observer and Glamour magazine, was appointed book editor at The New York Post.

Nelson, who is author of "So Many Books, So Little Time," will also write a column about book publishing that will run in the Thursday edition.

Danielle Claro was named editor-in-chief of Breathe, a health and lifestyle magazine, which is scheduled to start soon.

Chris Lehmann, who was deputy editor of The Washington Post's "Book World" section, is joining New York Magazine as features editor.

Keith Girard has stepped down as editor of Billboard magazine after less than a year.

Thom Weidlich, previously a freelance writer, was named news editor of PR Week.

Elizabeth Ackerman was named features editor of American Kennel Club Gazette and AKC Family Dog.

David Sloan is no longer managing editor of This Old House magazine.

Jay Stowe, 36, previously executive editor of Outside magazine, will assume the top editorial job at Cincinnati magazine in mid-June from Kitty Morgan, who has been editor of the 30,000-circulation monthly for the past six years.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, June 2, 2004, Page 4

Coverage of the obesity trend has swelled by 294% in five years, with global brands taking the brunt of the media blame, according to a report published by Echo Research, a London-based company that specializes in brand reputation and analysis.

The firm analyzed some 9,000 news items, from Asia Pacific, France, the U.K., and the U.S., supplied by Factiva, and published between April 2003 and March 2004. Articles appeared in daily newspapers, business and consumer magazines.

Echo's research found obesity is now ranked alongside diabetes and cancer as a main life threatening issue in today's society the world over.

The research report also said the causes and the solutions put forward by leading commentators are either too one-sided or not comprehensive enough to effectively combat the problem.

Media in all regions focused on the worrying increase and impact of the disorder among children, with schools perceived as playing a key role in changing nutritional habits and behavior.

Messages and opinion formers varied significantly according to both political and social contexts, the report said.

In the U.S., education is regarded as key, but so too is litigation, which is viewed as an essential tool to curb the obesity trend.

By contrast, in France, medication is seen as a useful solution, while in Britain, the debate has been politicized by the government, which is pushing for regulation on advertising, promotion, vending machines and food labeling.

Much blame is being apportioned by the media, with highly visible global brand names being at the center of the problem as well as offering potential solutions. Individuals responsibilities seem to be a particularly difficult concept to get across, the report said.

[Krispy Kreme blames its first loss as a public company on the low-carb craze.]

Sandra Macleod, CEO of Echo Research, said educational bodies, companies, health professionals and policy makers will have to engage in a major concerted effort to better inform the debate and press home messages on responsibilities and prevention if the public is to be clear about how to tackle a real, and growing problem.

A new Harris Poll found four out of five adults used the Internet to read some kind of news in the previous seven days, and 26% of the people said this use of the Internet has not changed their use of other news media, while 13% say that it had changed their use of media but does not reduce it.

The largest number of people (60%) said they go online to get weather news, followed by national news, international news, local news, TV and movies news, sports and business news.

The study was conducted online within the U.S. among a nationwide cross section of 2,415 adults.

A new survey of affluent women age 40 and over found the old stereotypes of luxury are being redefined and reshaped.

The nationwide study, conducted for Traditional Home magazine, found brand traits such as "quality" and "performance" consistently outweigh attributes such as "prestige" and "luxury" in influencing buying decisions among women in households with incomes over $200,000.

Words such as "old-fashioned," "formal" or "exclusive" are no longer relevant to this segment of the marketplace, according to Brenda Darling, publisher of TH.

The new traditionalists define their lives with words such as "classic," "timeless," "elegant," "warm," "sophisticated" and "adaptable," said Darling, who also noted 86% of the women in the study said they lived in a "comfortable" home versus 63% who said they lived in a "traditional" home.


Jacqueline Salit, who is political director of the Committee for a Unified Independent Party, has started a quarterly magazine called Neo-Independent with about $100,000 in pledge money from more than 100 New York friends and colleagues.

Salit, 50, a former journalist for ABC News and public TV as well as a political activist, who has worked on more than 100 campaigns including Mayor Michael Bloomberg's , is targeting her magazine at 35% of the American public that now identifies itself as independent rather than Democrat or Republican.


Microsoft Corp. and CMP Media will publish TechNet Magazine, in conjunction with MSDN Magazine's security-focused issue, due this fall.

Joshua Trupin, executive editor of MSDN Magazine, said TechNet will provide in-depth, hands-on information that IT professionals can use in their daily work, from recognizing and preventing hacking attempts to securing passwords and fortifying networked systems.

The special edition will be published by CMP.

BusinessWeek SmallBiz will make its debut in June as a quarterly, stand-alone title, targeting small business owners.

The magazine, which will have an initial circulation of 500,000 copies, will be inserted as a supplement in Business Week that is sent to subscribers.

Kimberly Weisul is editor of SmallBiz, which will cover finance, economic trends, technology and business books.

Multicultural Marketing News, an online e-newsletter published by Multicultural Marketing Resources, a New York-based PR firm, will publish profiles of experts in marketing to gays and lesbians in its June issue in conjunction with Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

The newsletter will be e-mailed to 10,000 subscribers during the second week of June.

A 125-word mini-press release with contact information costs $250.

The deadline to reserve space is June 4.
Melanie Eisenberg, editor of the issue, can be reached at 212/242-3351 or [email protected].

Julia Hyde, an independent PR writing consultant, said a press release with a headline that summarizes a story in 10 words or less is one of the best ways for publicists to impress reporters, and increase their chances of publication.

Her "15 ways to make a press release stand out from the crowd" were recently published on

MEDIA BRIEFS will start offering online readers access to AP Financial News in early June.

AP's new business news service goes beyond the top stories of the day to include quarterly earnings announcements, executive changes, regulatory actions, acquisitions and new product developments for major companies in a full range of industries.

Automobile magazine has an opening in its Ann Arbor, Mich., office for an assistant editor.

The position involves proofreading, news reporting, and assembling the "In Gear" section.

Amy Skogstrom is accepting resumes at feedback or 120 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Gary Rivlin, previously a contributing editor at Wired, has joined The New York Times as technology reporter in the San Francisco bureau.

James Meigs, previoulsy executive editor of National Geographic Adventure magazine, is joining Popular Mechanics magazine as editor-in-chief, succeeding Joseph Oldham, who retires in August.

Internet Edition, June 2, 2004, Page 7

A stockholder who gave his name as "Ed" and who said he was formerly a media director at BBDO in New York, asked whether the directors were working "twice as hard" and Wren replied, "They worked very hard."

The directors, instead of receiving 250 restricted shares a year worth about $20,000 at the current price of $80, will receive stock worth $70,000 yearly with no restrictions.

"Restricted" stock means the recipient must hold it for a period of years before selling it.

In addition, the directors get an annual retainer of $60,000 plus $2,000 for each attended meeting, $1,000 for attending a meeting by telephone, and $2,000 for attending a special meeting by telephone.

O'Dwyer Reporter Asks Questions

A freelance writer retained by this NL to cover the meeting asked questions but was not allowed to take any pictures at the meeting.

The writer asked Wren whether a more than 50% decline in PRSA members among three of its PR units (Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli) reflected a similar decline in staff numbers.

Wren responded that each agency's directors decide how many PRSA members the agency will have.

He was also asked how OMC's goodwill rose approximately $1 billion in 2003 to $5.8B when the company only spent $472 million on acquisitions.

OMC's financials state that there has been "no impairment" in the value of any of its purchases.

Wren replied that goodwill is based on a yearly analysis of the value of its subsidiaries in the local currency of each of OMC's 1,500 agencies.
OMC's PR firms had revenues of $955M in 2003, a gain of 3.7% over 2002. PR accounted for 11.1% of OMC's total revenues of $8.6B.

Source of PR Growth Is a Question

How much of this gain came from previously owned PR firms or PR firms that were acquired in whole or in part in 2003 is not known.

A stockholder noted that OMC is 80% owned by institutions and that he would like a "more diversified" ownership because "institutions tend to be like sheep."

Wren said there was nothing new to report on the class action suits that resulted when the OMC stock price dipped from about $80 to the mid-30's after a Wall Street Journal article on OMC June 12, 2002.
OMC's highest stock price was $107 in December of 2001.

A list of questions was e-mailed to Wren by this NL May 21 covering such issues as goodwill and employment at OMC's PR units.

One question was: "What does OMC get out of the Council of PR Firms that it allows Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli each to spend $50,000 yearly on dues to the group?

There has as yet been no response.

The New York Times, which devoted 15 column inches to coverage of the Interpublic annual meeting May 18 in New York, under the headline, "Shareholders voice anger toward Interpublic," did not cover the OMC meeting.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Business Chronicle were not present.


Nick Keable, managing director of the PPS Group, London, ranked 20th in size by PR Week/U.K. with fees of 3.6 million pounds or nearly $7 million, says the ad conglomerates are using the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as a "convenient fig leaf"to hide bad results.

PR firms owned by Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic, Havas, Publicis and Grey have not been allowed to report their figures to PRW, the publication noted in its April 23 ranking issue.

Keable, whose letter appeared May 7, said the 20 missing PR agencies "detract from the complete PR industry picture."

He feels that if SOX had been in effect in 1998-2000, when the firms were doing well, "imagine how cleverly the relevant CFOs in the U.S. would have found imaginative ways around it."

Don t try to "spin your way out of bad news," he advised the firms. "Tell it how it is. We all know."

Nearly 50 PR units owned by the conglomerates have not been allowed to report either employee totals or fee totals for 2002 and 2003.

Participating in the 2003 O'Dwyer rankings in the U.S. by providing top pages of income tax returns, W-3s showing total payroll, account lists and other documents were 108 independent PR firms and 20 PR firms owned by ad agencies but not the large conglomerates.

PR Week displayed a picture of Keable with the article using the caption "big groups are cowards."


Howell James, a former top aide to British Prime Minister John Major and a partner at Brown Lloyd James, is "disentangling" himself from the New York and London-based firm for a new PR post in current U.K. PM Tony Blair's cabinet.

In the wake of strong antipathy toward Blair over the Iraq war and the departure of his longtime press aide Alastair Campbell late last year, The (U.K.) Independent reports that James this summer will take the reins on a new entity designed to address a "breakdown of trust between public, media and government." His post is permanent secretary in charge of government

communications. The paper opined "trust won t easily be regained while Iraq remains such a dominant issue."

James was previously director of corporate and government affairs for Cable & Wireless and earlier was director of CA at the BBC.

BLJ helped Vancouver top Edelman and its client South Korea for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and has recently worked for the governments of Dubai and Qatar.

Internet Edition, June 2, 2004 Page 8



John Wren and Omnicom made spectacles of themselves by holding the OMC annual stockholders meeting in a room in its BBDO unit in Atlanta.

The attendance of 24 was far below the 160 that smaller ad conglomerate Interpublic faced the week before at a public auditorium in New York.

A half dozen irate stockholders raked IPG execs over the coals and the New York Times devoted 15 inches of type to this shellacking.

Omnicom, by fleeing to Atlanta, escaped any notice by the Times, Advertising Age, AdWeek or even the local Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The sole reporter at the OMC meeting was a free-lancer hired by this NL. The freelancer walked into the meeting room without any requests for identification, which says a lot about the security at BBDO.

Only when the freelancer asked some questions was identity demanded. A BBDO staffer asked to see the driver's license of the freelancer. The writer held an OMC proxy supplied by The O'Dwyer Co.

When the freelancer tried to ask additional questions, having received only minimal replies, the free-lancer was told that the meeting was over and was escorted out of the room to the elevators.

This openly hostile treatment of the press, including the refusal to discuss complicated financial matters, stands on its head every known principle of PR, starting with "face the bad news and get over it."

IPG, whose stock has plummeted from a high of $57 in late 2001 to around $14, where it has been for many months, has more negative issues than OMC. These include reporting $181M in non-existing revenues; paying $41M in bonuses to nearly 4,000 employees in 2003; the potential $32M retirement package for former CEO John Dooner, and its refusal to identify more than 200 acquisitions. It added six new ones in Q4 of 2003.

OMC has plenty of negative issues itself. Its stock is still 27 points below its high of late 2001 and it is continuing on its acquisition rampage in spite of pleas by analysts to stop this.

It spent $472M on acquisitions in 2003, off from its usual pace of $800M+. Its debt is $2.59B.

OMC reported a 3.7% gain in PR revenues to $955M in 2003 but no one knows where it gets this figure. A lot of the gain could be PR firms purchased as part of the $472M spent on acquisitions.

The main complaint of the Wall Street Journal article that knocked the stock in half in June 2002 was that OMC makes so many acquisitions that it's impossible to track its organic growth. Its $5.88 billion in "goodwill," up $1B in a single year, begs an explanation. Class action stockholder suits continue against OMC because of insider stock sales that preceded the huge stock decline two years ago.

Wren was asked about employment at the OMC PR units including Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and Brodeur.

He said he had no knowledge of this and that decisions to employ or not to employ are made by each unit. His attitude has been that the agencies in the 1,500-member family of OMC companies are independent and basically go their own way as long as they meet certain goals.

This is not true at all. When push comes to shove it's the parent who does the shoving. Evidence is the refusal of OMC to let its PR units announce their fee incomes and staff counts.
This is a potentially ruinous decision for the PR firms by the ad conglomerates. Advertising Age and AdWeek can track billings of ad agencies by counting ad linage and commercial time. But there is no such way to measure the output of PR firms.

PR Week/U.K. is so mad at this situation that it called the conglomerates "cowards"<D> in its May 7 issue (page 7).

It used this phrase under a picture of U.K. counselor Nick Keable, who had sent in a letter-to-the-editor criticizing the congloms for withholding data.

In running its table of 150 PR firms, PRW noted that "Once again," the PR firms owned by OMC, IPG, Havas, Grey and Publicis "have not been allowed to report any figures."

This makes it hard for PRW to report who is doing well and who is not, something clients want to know. Even writing about the PR firms is hard because key statistics are lacking. Trying to profile the leading firms in specialties such as finance, technology or beauty/fashion becomes impossible. This is bound to cut into PRW's ad revenues.

The ad conglomerates motives in buying PR firms have never been clearer. IPG is now combining seven Los Angeles units into 145,000 sq. ft. in one building. Tenants will be Weber Shandwick, Rogers & Cowan, PMK/HBH, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli and event, marketing and direct response units.

The holding companies want PR and other units to push each other's services. IPG this year named a "chief collaboration officer" to help ensure this.

The ad owners of the PR firms have no idea how hurtful it is for the PR firms to be unable to release any of their vital statistics. The ad people don t understand that honesty and openness are what defines PR to the press, public and prospective clients. Under the whip of their new owners, many of the big firms only publish a small portion of their clients. Who can trust a PR firm that is a house of secrets?

-- Jack O'Dwyer


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