Edition, Nov. 24, 2004, Page 1
The California Dept.
of Health Services has put its multi-million dollar anti-smoking
PR contract out for bid. The work is aimed at rallying the
public around creating and preserving a "tobacco-free"
state and is budgeted at $3.5 million over 3.5 years.
DHS Tobacco Control Section has authority over the effort
and wants a large firm with a significant California operation
($4 million in billings) to develop and execute the work.
spokeswoman said Los Angeles-based Rogers & Assocs.
currently has the contract and can pitch the work again.
agency has instructed any proposing firm not to talk to
the press without permission.
DHS wants a firm to build on previous PR campaigns in the
program and develop new ideas to "break down apathy
and involve the public" in anti-smoking efforts.
PR pact would begin in March 2005 and run for thirty-nine
months through June 2008. There are also two option years.
Proposals are due Dec. 17 (a letter of intent must be filed
by Nov. 30).
DART TOSSED AT PMK/HBG.
Leslee Dart, the legendary celebrity publicist at PMK/HBG,
has been canned by Pat Kingsley after more than 20 years
at the Interpublic Group-owned operation.
Dart, who represents Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep,
Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Scott Rudin and
Harvey Weinstein, was told by Kingsley on Nov. 17 that her
contract was not going to be renewed in January, and that
it was best for her to leave.
Kingsley said Dart was ousted because she had a different
opinion about the direction of the company. Corporate work
is a growing part of the PMK/HBG revenue base, and Dart
is not involved in that area. American Express, Motorola
and Reebok are PMK/HBG clients.
KFC has plucked Weber
Shandwick to handle its PR account that had been
at Edelman PR Worldwide for 28 years. The firm's Chicago
and New York offices will handle the Yum Brands property,
which counts 11,000 restaurants in 80 countries. That relationship
begins Dec. 1. Edelman declined to pitch in the competitive
LEVICK REPS 'KUWAITI
Levick Strategic Communications is handling PR for a dozen
Kuwaitis who are imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The
Washington, D.C.-based firm represents the families of the
captives and receives a $40K a-month fee for its efforts.
Gene Grabowski, who heads the account, likened the jailed
Kuwaitis to Mormon missionaries and said his clients heeded
the call of Islamic authorities to rebuild Afghanistan following
the U.S. route of the Taliban.
They planned to build houses in Afghanistan, but were rounded
up by Pakistani military officials and handed over to the
U.S. as alleged terrorists.
Grabowski, who was VP communications/ marketing for the
Grocery Manufacturers of America, claims the U.S. military
forces and CIA agents paid bounties ranging from $10 to
$200 for the men, who range in age from 20-to-45. He says
the captives were handed over with their "hands tied
behind their backs."
He said the families just want the detainees to get fair
trials. The PR firm's role is to "humanize" the
prisoners, said Grabowski.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled this month that Osama
bin Laden's driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, could not be tried
in secret and deserves the right to prove that he is a prisoner
of war which would protect him under the Geneva Convention.
Edition, Nov. 24, 2004, Page 2
F-H HITS AUDIT REPORT,
Fleishman-Hillard has blasted a critical audit report from
the Los Angeles Controller released Nov. 17 that says the
firm overbilled the city by $4.2 million since 1998. F-H
has acknowledged for the first time, however, that it cannot
back up some billing claims regarding its work for the city's
Dept. of Water and Power.
"Most of the assertions in the document cannot be
supported by the facts," senior partner and L.A. office
head Richard Kline said in a statement. "The report
presents preliminary questions and erroneous assertions
to arrive at an inflated overall estimate of questioned
But the firm said it did make billing mistakes. "It
appears time was added to LADWP billing that cannot be supported,"
Kline said, noting the discrepancies amounted to $652K over
Following the audit report's release, Fleishman-Hillard
has offered to have the dispute submitted to neutral mediation.
The report, conducted by Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio &
Assocs., Torrance, Calif., claims to have found $1.1 million
in unsupported labor costs, $488K in unallowable charges,
$1.2M in billings not complying with F-H's contract, and
$314K in questionable markups by subcontractors.
Principles of PR'
"Fleishman-Hillard not only violated the public trust,
they broke the time honored principles of the public relations
profession," Controller Laura Chick wrote in submitting
the final report to Mayor James Hahn, City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo
and the City Council.
"[The firm] can begin restoring the public's trust
by responding favorably and expeditiously to my audit's
findings and repay the people of Los Angeles the $4.2 million
rightly owed them."
The L.A. DWP has paid over $24 million for three contracts
with F-H since 1998, when the firm was originally brought
on as the city considered opening its services up to competition.
Kline told O'Dwyer's morale at the Los Angeles office is
high and several new clients have come on board in the last
INFACT BECOMES CAI.
Infact has changed its name to Corporate Accountability
International for "clearer messaging to better describe
what we do," said Patti Lynn, director of the Boston-based
group that has waged campaigns against Nestle, General Electric
and Philip Morris.
The 27-year-old organization has identified Coca-Cola as
its next target. CAI maintains that Coke is draining much-needed
water to make soda, creating shortages and health problems
in countries such as India. Coke rebuts that charge as evidenced
by its "water resources" policy statement that
is posted on its website.
CAI's new site is at www.stopcorporateabuse.org .
EDELMAN FACES OFF
VS. NHL OWNERS.
Edelman PR Worldwide has been counseling the National Hockey
League Players Assn., which has been "locked out"
by the team owners over the "salary cap" issue
since Sept. 15, according to Peter Land, who heads the firm's
sports and sponsorship group.
Bernadette Mansur, group VP-communications at the NHL,
said the league has used Howard Rubenstein's Rubenstein
Assocs. for "strategic consulting," but added
that the lockout is being handled by in-house staffers in
New York and Toronto.
She said players need to deal with the NHL's precarious
financial condition as 75 percent of revenues are earmarked
The NHLPA contends that it has offered proposals designed
to save the owners $200 million annually, but demands that
owners "open up the books" to prove their financial
Mansur said the current stalemate is "not a good situation"
for either side, and especially bad for "hockey's very
passionate and loyal fans."
Asked about coverage of the lockout, Mansur said it is
has received a "tremendous amount of press in Canada,
but not as much in the U.S."
The NHL has made a "conscious decision" to minimize
lockout information on its website, offering instead news
of the junior leagues that would interest fans of the sport,
according to Mansur. There is a link to "CBA News,"
at which Bill Daly, executive VP and chief legal officer,
provides updates on the collective bargaining agreement.
The NHLPA, which also has a CBA link, focuses on its players
who are keeping in shape by playing in the European leagues.
Mansur questions that PR strategy, "If you go on strike
at McDonald's , you don't walk down the street and take
somebody's job at Burger King," she said.
Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Kmart Holding Corp. announced
an $11 billion merger on Nov. 16 to form Sears Holdings
Corp., a $55 billion annual revenues entity designed to
better compete with Wal-Mart, which had $68 billion sales
in its third-quarter.
Citigate Sard Verbinnen's George Sard is working for Sears,
while Brunswick Group's Steve Lipin and Cindy Flynn represent
Edward Lambert, CEO of Kmart, is the kingpin of the deal.
His ESL Investments controls a 15 percent stake in Sears
and he is to become chairman of Sears Holdings.
Sears posted a third-quarter loss of $61 million (following
a $141 million write-off) on $8.3 billion revenues. Kmart
earned $553 million on $4.4 billion in sales.
Wal-Mart, which surpassed Sears as the No. 1 retailer in
1991, earned $2.3 billion during the third-quarter.
Edition, Nov. 24, 2004, Page 3
BIZ NEWS PITCHES.
Hank Gilman, deputy managing editor of Fortune, has
come to the conclusion after 28 years of reporting that
getting stories placed is "just a matter of building
up long term relationships with writers and editors."
"Don't expect fast results," Gilman told attendees
at the Publicity Club of New York's luncheon meeting on
Nov. 12, where he was on a panel with Neal Lipschutz, senior
editor for the Americas at Dow Jones Newswires; Gloria McDonough-Taub,
chief booker at CNBC-TV; Larry Ingrassia, business/financial
editor of The New York Times, and Fred Wiegold, New
York bureau chief at Bloomberg News.
Gilman cited as an example his longtime relationship with
Richard Anderson, a publicist, who was in the audience.
"The great thing about Rick is he's just not an intense
PR guy, he's very patient, he builds up relationships with
reporters and writers and editors over a long period of
time," said Gilman.
"One thing he's really smart about is he gets you
hooked up with CEOs and the really important people in the
companies that he represents," said Gilman, who noted
Anderson had just turned 60 years old.
Lipschutz said "Getting it right and fast is the starting
point not the ending point" for the 100-year-old news
service, which has bureaus in 90 cities around the world.
Lipschutz pointed out that a lot of DJN's news and news
work is devoted to analyzing events, breaking news, reporting
on trends, reporting on personal finance topics to a degree
that "we at Dow Jones Newswires never did in the past.
"So we really have a broad news agenda that includes
a lot of enterprise reporting as well as what might be called
spot news and real time reporting," said Lipschutz,
who is based in DJN's headquarters in Jersey City, N.J.,
where the largest group of reporters and editors are located.
He said DJ recently purchased a German news agency that
goes by the initials VMD, which is producing business and
to Help PR Pros
McDonough-Taub is responsible for the hours 5 a.m. to 7
p.m. at CNBC-TV.
She said she can help PR people get in touch with the reporters
to help them tell their story, and to get their stories
on more than one program on the network.
The core subjects which CNBC wants to cover are the state
of the economy, the financial markets, corporate America,
energy, Washington, D.C., entertainment, media, leisure,
technology, healthcare and consumer sectors.
McDonough-Taub is especially interested in booking top
corporate executives, who can "break and enhance"
Ingrassia said the "first mission among several"
for the Times business section is to be highly competitive
on the biggest business news stories.
"Second, we aim to set the agenda in covering important
issues like the rapidly rising cost of healthcare or questions
that have risen about how clinical trials for drugs are
conducted, excessive corporate compensation, and the precarious
funding of many public and private pension systems.
"Our third leg is to make sure we have some hard-hitting
investigative projects that resonate to our readership,"
He said the Sunday business section, which has been redesigned,
has gotten a more "magazine-y" look under its
new editor Jim Impoco, who was hired away from Fortune.
Wiegold said the best way to pitch a story to Bloomberg
is not by "phoning up Fred Wiegold and leaving a long
voice message for him."
He said Bloomberg has an Internet address, which is monitored
around the clock by people who know news and can act upon
it very quickly. "It is simply [email protected],"
Wiegold said the information sent to the Internet address
will also make its way to various teams who cover stories
Peter Himler, president of PCNY, who moderated the panel,
said 180 people attended the event, which was sold out two
weeks in advance.
Men's Journal, which recently hired Patti O'Brien
as fashion director, is cranking up its sportswear and fashion
coverage, reports Women's Wear Daily.
In coming months, MJ will increase its fashion coverage
from six pages an issue to 10, and the March issue will
feature a 20-page fashion section, the title's biggest ever,
according to WWD.
While there will be some tailored looks in the expanded
section, the emphasis will remain on casual, Michael Caruso,
MJ's editor, told WWD.
consumer advice editor, Phil Reed, is in charge of
all the consumer advice for buying, selling and leasing
Reed also covers insurance issues and financing for the
Santa Monica, Calif.-based website, and is the lead editor
on Edmunds.com's Strategies for Smart Car Buyers, according
to iCD Media, an interactive CD producer in Alpharetta,
He said incentives and rebates, hybrid cars, gas prices,
proposed tire pressure indicators, sales trends, youth market
bargain basement cars, the return of the station wagon,
first time car buyers, leasing vs. buying, and when to buy
a car are hot topics.
Amy Barnett, managing
editor of Teen People, has begun reporting to Martha
Nelson, People managing editor, instead of Time Inc.'s corporate
editor, Isolde Motley, who was responsible for both titles.
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, Nov. 24, 2004, Page 4
DOW JONES IS
Dow Jones has agreed to pay $519 million to buy MarketWatch
Inc., parent of the financial news website CBS MarketWatch,
in an attempt to expand its online reach into the consumer
financial news business.
In the first half of this year, Dow Jones WSJ.com, a paid
subscription site with some free areas, averaged 2.8 million
unique visitors every months.
MarketWatch, a free site based in San Francisco, has about
7.6 million unique visitors every month.
(A unique visitor is defined as a person who visits a site's
home page at least once a month.)
The deal will make Dow Jones the third largest presence
in the online financial news space in terms of unique visitors,
behind Yahoo Inc.'s Yahoo! Finance and Microsoft Corp.'s
MSN Money site, according to Dow Jones.
Dow Jones is paying $18 a share for MarketWatch, which
was started in 1997 by Larry Kramer, a former managing editor
of The Trenton (N.J.) Times and a business reporter for
The Washington Post.
Dow Jones, which is headquartered in New York, plans to
keep MarketWatch as a free site, distinct from WSJ.com,
which has about 700,000 paid subscribers.
YAHOO NEWS HIRES
Neil Budde has resigned as editor and publisher of The Wall
Street Journal Online edition, WSJ.com, to run Yahoo's news
He will replace former Yahoo News general manager Chris
McGill, who left.
SAFIRE: 'TIME TO
HANG UP MY HATCHET.'
William Safire will write his final op-ed column for The
New York Times on Jan. 24, 2005, ending a run of weekly
columns that began in 1973.
"After more than three decades of opinionated reporting
on the world's first and foremost political battle page,
it's time to hang up my hatchet," he said.
Safire, 74, will continue to write his Sunday column, "On
Language," which has appeared in the Times Magazine
He joined the paper in 1973 as a political columnist after
spending most of his career as a publicist.
From 1955 to 1960, Safire was VP of Infoplan, a New York-based
PR firm and then became president of his own firm.
He was responsible for bringing President Nixon and Nikita
Khrushchev together in the 1959 Moscow "kitchen debate"
to publicize his homebuilding client's kitchen. In 1968,
he joined Nixon's presidential campaign, and later became
Nixon's senior speechwriter.
His brother Leonard Saffir runs a PR firm in Boca Raton,
formerly creative director, replaces Peter Sikowitz as editor-in-chief
of Men's Fitness. Boulton
will also oversee Sly, the company's new lifestyle magazine
for men older than 35, which launches in February.
has resigned as one of two executive editors at Bauer Publications'
Life & Style Weekly.
Jane Freiman, former managing editor/features at
The New York Daily News, has joined L&SW as deputy
50, who was assistant managing editor and director of electronic
news since 2000 at The New
York Times, moves up to deputy managing editor on Jan.
Ann Marie Gardner
has joined The New York Times to edit the four issues
that were formerly the Sophisticated Traveler.
was named senior editor/features at Health
previously senior features editor, was promoted to executive
editor at National Geographic
TO PROMOTE BATMAN FLICK.
Meredith Books and DC Comics have teamed to develop and
publish a portfolio of children's books products based on
the upcoming feature film "Batman Begins."
The products will include sound storybooks, paint books,
coloring books and sticker story books.
The film, slated for release in June 2005 from Warner Bros.
Pictures, explores the origins of Batman.
Sun Media Investment
in Hong Kong, whose chairman is Chinese TV broadcaster Yang
Lan, is starting a digital edition of The Observer Star,
a Chinese-language business newspaper, which was recently
introduced in several West Coast cities, including Los Angeles,
San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Jose.
The e-version will be delivered to 24 million global Chinese
readers starting Nov. 18.
a Spain-based company whose principal shareholder is Pearson
plc., has started publishing Rumbo de Austin, with
Ruiz Camacho as managing editor. This is the company's fourth
Spanish-language paper to roll out in Texas.
magazine has been sold by Primedia to Crains Communications,
parent of Advertising Age. The consumer-trends title will
be folded into AA.
Edition, Nov. 24, 2004, Page 7
Mike Magee, 30-year
U.K. journalist who founded theinquirer.net website four
years ago, says PR is becoming increasingly "depersonalized"
and automated, making it easier for certain PR tasks to
be shifted overseas.
are far different in PR/press relations today than they
were even in the '90s," he told this NL.
Magee was contacted after an article in the Nov. 14 sundayherald.com,
Scottish website, said major PR firms might be moving some
functions to India.
He disagreed with the statement by Jack Irvine of Media
House, Glasgow, that PR cannot be done without "strong
relations between PRs and journalists."
Madden: "But as PRs never seem to talk to journalists
any more, never mind buy us drinks, or even return our calls,
it all makes absolute sense to the Inquirer. Perhaps they
ll be schmoozing with all those Reuters folks outsourced
earlier this year?"
said he used to have "seven or eight" close PR
friends but now only has one or two.
feels that bottom line-oriented PR managements have cut
expense accounts, making it hard for PR pros to entertain
also feels that PR people are afraid they might say the
wrong thing to a journalist that could cost them their jobs.
is so automated these days," said Magee, referring
to e-mail, the PR wire services and company websites.
Herald Sees Moves to India
lengthy story in the Herald noted that several major PR
firms such as Weber Shandwick, Burson-Marsteller, Hill &
Knowlton and Edelman PR Worldwide have offices or affiliates
acquired R&P Management Communications
of Mumbai, India, last month.
these companies are primarily in India to broaden their
global reach, many think offshoring is the next logical
step," wrote the Herald.
noted that Lloyds TSB is shifting another 1,000 jobs to
India and that Chancellor Gordon Brown warned U.K. companies
not to be complacent. "It is clear that no sector is
exempt," said the website.
Irvine was quoted in the Herald as saying that, "Given
that effective PR is done by strong relations between PRs
and journalists, it (PR jobs going to India) sounds entirely
ludicrous to me."
further told O'Dwyer's that the withdrawal of PR people
from personal relationships with reporters has been going
on for decades and gets worse with each new decade. The
Herald story is at www.sundayherald.com/print45934.
says that while media relations might be difficult to ship
to India, writing, media monitoring and evaluation, and
certain lower-level jobs would be more susceptible to off-shoring.
Research, a major firm, has been talking with Indian suitors
but the firm said it has not reached any agreement, says
IS NO. 1
ON GOOGLE FOR 'PR.'
PR Society of America has the most accessed website for
"public relations," according to the Nov. 16 tabulation
uses more than 100 factors in ranking websites such as number,
length and depth of visits.
Student Society of America, sponsored by PRSA, is No. 6
and PR Tactics, the monthly of PRSA, is No. 48.
other PR organizations are in the top 100 websites. They
are: 3. Institute of PR, U.K.; 5. PR Museum, New York; 7.
Council of PR Firms; 9. Institute for PR, U.S.; 16. Int
l PR Assn.; 21. National
School PR Assn.; 29. Women Executives in PR; 34. Florida
PR Assn.; 36. Ireland PR Assn.; 43. Global Alliance for
PR; 62. PR Consultants Assn., U.K.; 65. CPRF agency search;
80. Southern PR Federation; 81. European PR education, and
99. European Assn. of PR Firms.
other four PR news media in the top 100 under "public
relations" are 13. O'Dwyer website; 25. PR Watch; 26.
Business Week.directory.com/PR, and 70. bizjournalsdirectory.com.
firms ranked are: 4. Edelman PR Worldwide; 12. Ogilvy PR
Worldwide; 19. Ketchum; 27. National PR, Canada; 30. Brodeur;
37. Airfoil PR; 39.'s &S PR; 40. Porter Novelli; 46.
Text 100; 51. Vollmer PR; 52. KCSA PR Worldwide; 53. dprg,
German PR firm; 60. Connect PR; 71. Alexander/ Ogilvy; 75.
Ogilvy PR/index; 84. Atomic PR; 87. Magnet, and 96. gpra.de,
German PR firm.
is No. 2 in "Public Relations News"
O'Dwyer website is No. 2 in "public relations news."
No. 1 is Topix.net, which supplies links in 100+ subject
areas and does not do original reporting.
PR news media in the top 100 were: 38. Tactics of PRSA;
57. PR Watch monthly newsletter; 64. Wired, general business
news site; 66. FAIR, monthly publication, and 74. Guardian,
Duffey Communications, which reported $6.3 million in fees
and 32 full time employees for 2003, has declined to be
in the 2004 ranking of PR firms compiled by the Atlanta
Duffey, president, said too many other firms are not supplying
figures and his firm would be at a "competitive disadvantage"
if it supplied data.
Chronicle ranked Edelman PR Worldwide as the largest among
25 Atlanta firms with $5.5 million in fees
and 38 employees.
was treasurer of PRSA in 1999 and ran for president-elect
but was defeated by Kathy Lewton, who had the official nomination.
He is no longer a member of PRSA. One Duffey employee, Paul
Fulton, is listed in the PRSA Blue Book as a member. Duffey
said his firm has members of PRSA and other business organizations.
Chronicle does not require firms it ranks to supply proofs
of figures submitted. Six of the firms did supply substantiation.
2002, nearly 50 PR operations owned by publicly held ad/PR
conglomerates have not been allowed by their parents to
release income or employment figures. The conglomerates
(WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic, Publicis and Havas) have said
that different accounting rules throughout the world make
uniform reporting difficult and could touch off penalties
under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
lawyers say that staff and payroll totals are mere compilations
and could not touch off action under SOX unless they were
Internet Edition, Nov.
24, 2004 Page 8
Veteran U.K. journalist
Mike Magee (page one) says he rarely sees PR people
anymore and complains that PR has become "too automated"
and "depersonalized." It's a trend that has been
obvious in the U.S. for decades.
Yet we recently went to three events where we met lots
of PR pros and journalists and everyone seemed happy at
these chances to "press flesh."
The "Financial Follies" of the New York Financial
Writers Assn. drew a black-tie crowd of 1,000 to the Marriott
Marquis Nov. 19.
The dinner of the Institute for PR Nov. 10 at the Union
League Club drew 250+ and the Center for Communication lunch
for Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times Nov. 17 drew
400+ to the Plaza.
Financial PR executives we met at the "Follies"
were delighted to meet so many of their peers and press
in one night and bemoaned the fact that their personal interaction
with reporters is at an all time low.
Asked for the reason, they think it's mainly a matter of
timebillable time. They can't take two hours out of
their day to lunch with a reporter. Reporters are also pressed
for time. Those in both occupations are being worked to
The three events were
costly$300 a ticket for the "Follies," $300
for the Institute for PR and $7,500 to $25,000 a table ($750
for single tickets) at the CenCom lunch. But the events
prove that PR pros and journalists, while not having the
time for individual lunches, will come out for a worthwhile
reason. Two of the events were at night, meaning billable
daytime hours were not lost.
Publicity Club of New York, meanwhile, is performing a
similar function as the above but at a much lower admission
price. Its monthly lunches featuring editors are sold-out
PRSA/New York for many years had monthly lunches that drew
350-400 to the Waldorf-Astoria. Top speakers of interest
both to PR pros and journalists were the attraction. Such
lunches are needed again and can be brought back if enough
individuals support this. Individuals must take the reins
and not wait for their associations.
cast is illustrative of what's happening to many associations.
Only 20 members turned out to perform and several were over
80 years of age. Youth is sorely needed but few journalists
and PR pros want to go through the grueling rehearsal regimen.
Association executives tell us companies have been pulling
back on their support of trade groups. As an example, the
12 biggest PR firms, with 17,000 employees in 2001, cut
their PRSA memberships from 617 in 2001 to 316 as of 2004.
Only ten members showed up to compete for seven national
PRSA offices this year.
It's time for individual PR pros not only in New York but
elsewhere to work with existing PR groups that will put
on needed programs or form new groups that will do so. Strong
professional societies benefit individuals and their employers.
The Google rankings
on page 7 are as credible a source of the attention
being garnered by various companies and subjects as anything
these days. The Audit Bureau of Circulations for many years
was the gold standard in the print world but several scandals
have wracked its measurements lately. Long Island's Newsday,
for instance, has been forced to cut 98,000 from its daily
circulation. Google uses more than a 100 factors in measuring
"hits" and works hard to stop those who want to
"game" the system. PRSA, as expected, comes out
on top in the "PR" category.
The top PR firm is Edelman PR Worldwide followed by Ogilvy
PR Worldwide, Ketchum, National PR of Canada and Brodeur.
The O'Dwyer website is No. 13 in the PR category and No.
2 in "public relations news" after Topix.net,
an aggregator that does not do original reporting.
Edelman has the No. 5 position on another Google ranking
called ceo blog. The opinions of Richard Edelman are carried
Martin Sorrell, CEO
of WPP Group, is profiled in the Nov. 29 Fortune.
WPP's impending purchase of Grey Global Group would boost
revenues past $10B and put it near Omnicom. The piece is
generally positive although the Y&R unit is said to
be "struggling." Ad industry writer Randall Rothenberg
calls Sorrell "arguably the last and only statesman
in the business." The piece does not mention the $3.25
billion debt of WPP nor the $12.16B total debt of the "Big
Four," which also includes OMC ($2.58B in debt), Interpublic
($2.19B) and Publicis ($4.14B). Total sales of the four
Fortune refers to the "foundering" Havas, which
owns PR firms Euro RSCG Magnet and Abernathy MacGregor.
While the SEC lists debt of Havas at $1.53B, it has no figure
for sales. Also unmentioned is that the congloms have stopped
their ad agencies and PR firms from releasing revenue or
staff figures, which is deeply harmful to them.
Fortune writer Nelson Schwartz says Sorrell is "confident,
witty and a tad arrogant" and is known as being "accessible"
to reporters and analysts, enjoying "the spotlight
and the give-and-take." WPP and the other congloms
do not allow reporters on what should be quarterly analyst/press
calls. Almost all the employers of the analysts do business
with the congloms and their questions are muted and mostly
technical. Reporters would ask different questions and they
would all be on the record.
Fortune, unlike the Wall Street Journal and New York Times,
does not refer to Sorrell as "sir."