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Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
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Internet Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 1

First 5 California, the Golden State's public agency that budgets millions in tobacco tax revenue for family and children's programs, is winding down the initial phase of an RFP process to lock up a lead PR firm.

The three-year contract is expected to be worth $21 million over three years, with about $12 of that for PR and education and the balance to be used for partnership organizations.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, PainePR, Edelman, Dewey Square Group and incumbent Rogers & Assocs. are among 15 firms that attended a recent pre-bid conference. R&A has handled the work since 2001 and picked up a $1.5M extension on a three-year, $36M deal through March 2005.

First 5, also known as the California Children and Families Commission and based in Sacramento, is funded by a 50-cent tax on cigarette packs and other levies on tobacco products.

Media and community outreach to county commissions, media training, promotional materials, and web work are all part of the pact.

Firms must have a California office, at least $5 million in annual gross billings (advertising can be included and firms can pitch together to meet the billings requirement) and not currently have alcohol or tobacco companies under contract.

The contract is slated to be awarded by mid-March.


Fleishman-Hillard's Jon Haber, a political operator who worked in five Democratic Presidential campaigns, was named CEO of the Assn. of Trial Lawyers of America on Jan. 31.

That appointment puts the 51-year-old executive in charge of countering President Bush's war on ‘junk lawsuits." APCO Worldwide has been the leading PR firm on the "tort reform" front.

Haber, who was senior partner in Fleishman- Hillard's Washington, D.C., office, succeeds Tom Henderson, who is retiring after 17 years at the helm.

He worked on the Presidential campaigns of Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Dick Gephardt, Bill Clinton and Howard Dean, and served as an aide to Sens. Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein.

Haber is a member of the California bar. The ATLA represents 60,000 lawyers.


Four Omnicom units collected $222.7 million–or nearly 90 percent–of the $250 million spent by the U.S. Government for PR since `01, according to the "Federal Public Relations Spending" report conducted for House Democrats in the wake of the Armstrong Williams affair.

Ketchum, which is under investigation for its role in setting up Williams as promoter for the "No Left Child Behind Act, is Uncle Sam's top PR firm, collecting $97 million–or 39 percent– of the total federal outlays. (Margaret Spellings, the new Education Secretary, has ordered Ketchum to stop work, and is reviewing its $1 million contract.)

Matthews Media Group, OMC's healthcare specialist, ranks as the federal government's second most favorite PR firm. It gathered $51.6 million in contracts.

Fleishman-Hillard ($41.1 million) and Porter Novelli ($33 million) are next on the roster.

The report names 11 other firms that have gotten federal PR dollars since `01, but does not disclose the individual amounts received.

They are APCO Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller, Edelman, Eisner Communications, EPB/Kaufman, Equals Three Communications, Hill & Knowlton, National Media Inc., Ogilvy PR Worldwide, RMR Assocs. and Widmeyer Communications.

The report also notes the rise in the number of "noncompetitive contracts." More than four- out-of-ten (41 percent) of contracts--worth $37 million--in `04 were awarded without a "full and open competition." That's up from 19 percent in `01.


M Booth & Assocs. has won a review for the U.S. Virgin Islands' PR account, which had been at Slay PR for nearly a decade. The "comprehensive" review began last May for the seven-figure account.
Senior VPs Joan Bloom and Joan Brower, who co-direct the New York-based firm's travel and lifestyle unit, head the work.

In a conference call with O'Dwyer's, the duo said they used a depth of knowledge of the region in working for clients like Puerto Rico and St. Lucia to pitch for the work.

U.S. territories in the Virgin Islands archipelago, dubbed "America's Caribbean Paradise" by the USVI Dept. of Tourism, include St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John and tourism accounts for about 70 percent of the islands' $2.4 billion GDP.


John Wren, CEO of Omnicom, exercised options at $12.94 and sold 41,071 shares of OMC stock ("non open market") Jan. 27 at $84.36 per share for a total of $3.4 million.

He exercised options on another 98,929 shares at $12.94 but has not yet sold the shares. Last year Wren sold shares worth $3.2M. Insiders sold shares worth $34 million in 2004. has opened a comprehensive "Job Center" for PR professionals and employers. It lists jobs and positions sought throughout the U.S. and allows users to create their own "accounts." Resumes can be posted. The new area is open to non-subscribers. Click for link

Internet Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 2


Denver and its surrounding metro area is searching for a PR firm to lead a $1.3 million three-year public education campaign on ozone pollution.

The Regional Air Quality Council wants to inform the public about elevated ozone levels and consequences that could arise if the area continues to surpass EPA pollution standards.

Denver was notorious for a "brown cloud" of pollution that hung over the city for decades through the `90s. The city was able to implement several steps to curb that problem – from limiting wood-burning stoves and driving restrictions to requiring oxygenated fuels – and was hailed by the EPA in 2002 for its improvement in air quality.

Population growth and its physical location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, however, has put the area in danger of violating levels of new ozone guidelines. It has until 2007 to stay below the EPA's set level.

The RAQC has developed the "Keep It Clean" campaign with the local American Lung Assn. and other entities to urge people to take voluntary steps to cut ozone emissions. That effort is slated to include several aspects of PR, from media outreach and special events to advertising and logo development.

Sara O'Keefe, communications manager ([email protected]), and Sarah Schmitz, communications coordinator, will oversee the PR firm's work and the campaign. O'Keefe told O'Dwyer's the agency is not currently using an outside firm for advertising or PR.

RAQC has allocated $550K for 2005, $300K for 2006 and $285K for 2007. A contract will be reviewed at the end of 2005. It is accepting proposals for the first year of the program through Feb. 18.

Joe Epley, who founded his Charlotte, N.C.-based firm in `69, is retiring on March 1. Epley Assocs. president Michael Herman will become CEO.

Epley promised O'Dwyer's that he is not "going to fade away," but noted that he has been doing the same job for 36 years. "It's time to reflect upon my life, and get in touch with some of my friends who have retired," he said.

The succession plan, according to the 67-year-old Epley, had been in the works for some time. It was sidetracked by "9/11 and the down economy"
Throughout his career, Epley has been active in Public Relations Society of America. He founded the Charlotte chapter, served as national president in `91, and chaired both Counselors Academy and College of Fellows.

In `91, EA received criticism from N.C. political leaders and environmentalists for a plan to "disperse" public opposition to a proposed nuclear waste dump. "Confidential" documents--bearing the Epley name–measured the political strengths of site areas and outlined a program to publicize 12-13 sites rather than 5-7 ‘real' sites.

Herman is immediate past chair of the Counselors Academy. He merged his firm, Communication Sciences International, into EA in `93. Herman headed EA's Raleigh office during the `70s before leaving for Union Carbide.

EA clients include John Deere, BB&T and Carolinas HealthCare System.

The Pentagon, in wake of the Ketchum/Armstrong Williams/Dept. of Education debacle, may investigate whether it paid any journalists to serve as "undercover" pitchmen for the Dept. of Defense.

Lawrence DiRita, DoD's top spokesperson, is nearly certain that the Pentagon does not have journalists on the payroll.

He requested an inquiry, however, because of the Pentagon's enormous size, "decentralized decision-making and budget approval authorities."

DiRita wrote a letter to Joseph Schmitz, DOD's Inspector-General, requesting a payola probe.

He asked Schmitz to look into whether the DoD used "public funds to pay journalists for various purposes."

That investigation would cover the DOD and "non-DOD contracting activities."

The Washington Times' DoD columnists Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough obtained the DiRita letter and used it as their story in their "Inside the Ring" column on Feb. 4.

Qatar, the tiny Arab state that is home to Al-Jazeera, the Arab-language satellite TV network, has hired Barbour Griffith & Rogers to a $300K pact to smooth relations with the Bush Administration.

The New York Times ran a front page article on Jan. 30 about how Qatari/U.S. relations are under pressure because the White House perceives Al-Jazerra's coverage of the "war on terror" as anti-American due to the extensive play it gives to civilian deaths in Iraq.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have complained that Al-Jazeera's coverage is inflammatory and sometimes outright false. They also object to the prominent coverage that Al-Jazeera gives to the videos of Osama bin Laden.
Ahmed Sheikh, Al-Jazeera's news editor, said the station is independent and nobody's mouthpiece.

Some Administration officials, however, told the Times, that U.S. complaints about Al-Jazeera are hypocritical in light of President Bush's vow to bring freedom and democracy to the region.

Qatar bankrolls about $50 million of Al-Jazeera's $120 million budget.

The Government is working to sell its stake in Al-Jazeera to private interests as one way to boost U.S. ties.


Jorge Ortega, managing director at Burson-Marsteller/Miami and chairman of its U.S. Hispanic practice, has moved to The Jeffrey Group in Miami, where he takes the title of president. Jeffrey Sharlach, previously president, has assumed the chairman/CEO titles.

Ortega joined B-M in New York – where Sharlach worked before setting up TJG in 1993. He eventually was named GM of B-M's Mexico operation and chairman of its Latin American unit.

Ortega, a Miami native, opened B-M's U.S. Hispanic practice in 2001.

Internet Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 3


A panel of radio newspeople told 90 members and guests of the Publicity Club of N.Y. at a Jan. 28 meeting that they welcome PR pitches.

Emiliano Limon, who recently joined WCBS News Radio 88 in New York as producer and writer after a 10-year stint as a talk radio producer in Los Angeles, said PR people need to know when stations are covering breaking news because that is when news directors look for angles and experts.

Limon said the first two or three hours when the expert/angle starts becoming the news story is the perfect time for PR pros to get in touch with a station's news director or "whoever you re friends with at the station, and say, `Hey, I have someone who can talk about this, or `I have someone who is an expert in relation to this story. "

Pitching features

When pitching features, he believes the news director is the right person to pitch because "he is basically seeing over what's going on in the news that day. But if you develop a rapport with a producer or a writer or whomever at stations, they too can say, `Hey, I know someone that can talk about this. I know of an expert that I can have access to that I can talk to for a couple of minutes, cut it up and put it on the air. "

Amy Scott, a New York-based reporter for Public Radio International's "MarketPlace," a business show that airs on weekdays in the mornings and evening usually during drive time, said her beat is "sort of the culture of Wall Street."

She is looking for stories that "get into this bizarre culture here in New York that affects the global economy so much but is a little bit opaque and hard to understand."

For example, when her station aired a report about the N.Y. Stock Exchange considering opening two hours earlier, the story was not about more market share to the NYSE, but rather about what it would be like to get up two hours earlier for these people who are already working at four and five in the morning.

"So, stories with that kind of flavor are what we re looking for," said Scott.

She suggested pitching stories to editors and producers of "MarketPlace" instead of to reporters. She said pitches, which are read by Peter Clowney, editor of MarketPlace, should be e-mailed to pitches@

Scott wants publicists to pitch her ideas for a segment she produces called "The Job Files," a 45-second, every-other-week segment on interesting jobs.

Shelly Lewis, who is senior VP/programming for Air America Radio Network, said the program covers issues from a "liberal perspective."

"We have all kinds of guests and we re happy to entertain whatever pitches you want," said Lewis, who introduced Terry Keaney, head of the network's booking department as the person to pitch suggestions by e-mail at [email protected].

Kevin Magee, senior VP at Fox News Radio, said the news service is "fairly small and we only do one-minute newscasts but beginning in June we re going to be doing five-minute newscasts."

He said FNR will have more than 250 affiliates when it ads 162 Clear Channel stations this summer.

He described "Fox News Live with Alan Colmes," which airs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. (ET) on 68 stations and XM Radio and Sirius Radio, as a "three-hour, sort of free form radio newscast with guests."

The third leg of the stool is the "Tony Snow" radio show which comes out of Washington every day, from 9 a.m. to noon.

He provided the names of the producers and their phone numbers: Colmes producer is Jim L Ecuyer—212/301-5048; Snow's producer is Griff Jenkins—202/824-6316, and Mitch Davis, who runs the news service—212/301-3925.

Tango, a quarterly magazine about love and relationships, went on sale this week for the first time.

"Three years ago, I looked around me and realized that there was nothing on the newsstands that spoke to women—and their partners—about the most fundamental part of their lives: their relationships," said Andrea Miller, founder/CEO of the New York-based magazine.

Miller said it was decided to launch Tango to "share a million stories of heartbreak and happy endings, of love and frustration, of doubt and discovery."

"Whether the topic is sex, fashion, careers, culture, stress, travel, home, health, or money, Tango takes a unique point of view, offering a rich mix of expert advice, in-depth reporting, personal narrative, and provocative opinion," said Miller, who invites readers to e-mail story suggestions to [email protected].

Elise O'Shaughnessy is editor-in-chief of Tango; Kristine Kern is managing editor, and Kelly Bare is senior editor. They are located at 33 Little West 12th st., New York, N.Y. 10014.

"News & Notes with Ed Gordon" made its debut on National Public Radio on Jan. 31.

Gordon will host the one-hour program that brings African American points of view on issues in the news every weekday, offering a mix of roundtable discussions, newsmaker interviews, feature stories, opinion, and news coverage.

Gordon is based at NPR's facility in New York, while host/correspondent Farai Chideya will be in NPR West's studio in Culver City, Calif.

Jennifer Gilbert was promoted to editor-in-chief of Sales & Marketing Management, where she was executive editor.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 4


Michael Days, previously managing editor of The Philadelphia Daily News, was promoted to editor, replacing Zack Stalberg, whose last day as editor is Feb. 11.

Stalberg, 57, who was editor of the Daily News for more than 20 years, became the target of an on-going dispute with the city's black community over its coverage of African-Americans.

Bruce Crawley, chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce and president/CEO of Crawley Haskins Sloan PR & Adv., organized a boycott of the paper and called for the ouster of Stalberg and the previous managing editor, both Caucasian.

Days, a native Philadelphian, joined the paper nearly 20 years ago. He has worked in several positions including business editor, assistant managing editor and deputy managing editor.

He is married to Angela Dodson, executive editor of Black Issues Book Review and was named managing editor last April.


Vickie Elmer has resigned as assistant managing editor/business of The Indianapolis Star because she said management wants to focus the section on the business elite, managers, executives and opinion leaders.

"My vision has always been broader and more inclusive—we provide stories that appeal to clerks and CEOs, college students, cafe owners and cleaning ladies," said Elmer, who joined the paper 18 months ago.


Tom Weber was named editor of the new "Pursuits" section in The Wall Street Journal.

The section, which will be started in September as part of the "Weekend" edition, will cover such topics as entertainment, fashion, food, restaurants, travel and fitness. He will report to Joanne Lipman.

Weber has been deputy editor of "Weekend Journal" since 2002.

Before that, he was a technology reporter and columnist.

AirTran Airways published the first issue of Go, an inflight magazine, on Feb. 1.

The magazine's regular features will include sports-themed articles, reports on unique travel destinations, automotive and technology reviews, celebrity trends, fashion and shopping tips, and popular food and drink recipes.

Ink Publishing, London, will publish Go, which will appear bimonthly until August when it will be distributed once a month on all AirTran Airways planes. has started regional media gossip blogs for New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Spiers, editor-in-chief of mediabistro, and Christian Moerk, a former movie studio executive, are writing fishbowlNY, which will cover the people, events and ideas that shape media culture in N.Y.

FishbowlDC includes coverage of publications, TV shows and radio programs, as well as the political PR field and is written by Garrett Graff, VP/communications at EchoDitto Inc., a D.C.-based tech consulting firm, and a former Howard Dean staffer.

FishbowlLA, which will provide commentary on the sociology of the city's media culture and the intersection between media and entertainment, is written by Michael Sonnenschein, an L.A.-based TV writer.

Nicola McCarthy, who is known as Nic, is leaving Us Weekly, where she is executive editor, to become editor of the U.S. edition of OK!, which may begin publishing towards the end of the year.

The celebrity-friendly weekly is published in London by Richard Desmond's parent company, Northern & Shell, which just filed incorporation papers in New York State.

The British OK! is known to pay for exclusive access to stories. Desmond, who started OK! in 1993, also owns London's Daily Express and Daily Star.

Michael Santarini, previously with EE Times, has joined EDN in Newton, Mass., as senior editor of the electronics design magazine.

Santarini, who is based in San Jose, Calif., will oversee reporting, features and news stories on a variety of topics, including design automation. He will also cover local press events, functions, and conferences in Silicon Valley.

John Dodge, editor-in-chief of EDN Worldwide, can be reached at 617/558-4404.


Dow Jones & Co. has reorganized its Consumer Electronic Publishing group as a part of the integration efforts associated with its recent acquisition of MarketWatch.

As part of the reorganization, 97 positions at DJ and MarketWatch were eliminated from the human resources, finance, technology, ad sales, marketing and news departments.

Dave Callaway continues in his current role as the editor-in-chief of MW and still heads its news operations. Bill Grueskin will stay as managing editor of, and also will oversee editorial for The Wall Street Journal vertical sites.

Dan Silmore, who handled PR at MarketWatch, was promoted to general manager of MarketWatch and its newsletter business.

Larry Kramer, chairman/COO of MarketWatch, will stay on as a Dow Jones consultant.


Samantha Meiler was named editor of Life & Style Weekly, which was started by Bauer Publishing in November 2004 as a fashion, beauty and lifestyle news magazine.

Meiler was previously executive editor in Bauer's development group, and was senior features editor at Star, and a writer at Us Weekly and Glamour.
She will report to Sheryl Berk, editor-in-chief of the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based publication.


Jennifer Gilbert was promoted to editor-in-chief of Sales & Marketing Management magazine, where she was executive editor.

Before joining's &MM two and a half years ago, Gilbert was an editor and reporter at Advertising Age, Business 2.0 and Chief Executive magazines.

Keith Pollock, formerly with PR Consulting overseeing the men's fashion clients, recently joined as men's market editor.

Doug Merlino is the new editor of the OPC Bulletin, published monhtly for members of the New York-based Overseas Press Club.

Lambert Mayer, 78, Quebec's former director of communications in New York, and publisher of Media Relations World Letter, a newsletter about media and PR professionals, died last Oct. 12.

George Mannes, previously a reporter and columnist at The, has joined Money magazine along with Ryan D'Agostino, from Jungle Media, and Diane Harris, the new assistant managing editor.

Amy Feldman, Pablo Galarza, Michael Powe, Nick Pachetti and Stephanie Smith are leaving the editorial staff on Feb. 15.

Deepti Hajela, a reporter in the New York metro bureau of The Associated Press, was elected 2005 president of the South Asian Journalists Assn., which has more than 1,000 members.

Internet Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 7

Gavin Anderson & Co. has edged a handful of firms to guide PR and marketing communications for the Global Entrepreneurs Programme, a United Kingdom government-backed push that tries to urge U.S. businesses to open operations in the U.K.

Hill & Knowlton had the six-figure account.

Montieth Illingworth, managing director for GA in New York, heads the work for GEP.

Illingworth, who handled similar economic development in several years at Development Counselors Int l, told O Dwyer's the primary focus of the program is U.S. companies in the biotechnology, wireless and general information technology sectors.

Part of that push includes outreach from U.K. entrepreneurs to their U.S. counterparts.

GEP is eying expansion of the effort into the Asia-Pacific region and India, as well as further outreach in Europe.

MWW Group has not renewed its contract with Los Angeles office head Harvey Englander. The firm has elevated senior VP David Herbst to the GM spot.
Englander joined the firm in 1999.

Herbst, former EVP at American Standard Development Company and VP of corporate affairs for Playa Vista, earlier ran his own public affairs firm for five years and headed L.A. County's Chamber of Commerce.

MWW president and CEO Michael Kempner praised Englander's "hard work and strong commitment" to the firm. The Interpublic unit will keep the rest of its L.A. management intact.

Herbst and Englander worked together on an L.A. County Supervisor campaign about 10 years ago.

Emmis Radio's Hot 97, which has been beleaguered by bad press after it aired an insensitive parody of the Asian tsunami disaster, has brought in Dan Klores Comms. to bolster its crisis communications.

The hip-hop station, which had a relationship with Lizzie Grubman PR, last week fired two staffers, including the author of the song, which was a parody of "We Are the World" mocking the tsunami tragedy with lyrics about mothers floating by their children and kids being sold into slavery.

Three staffers, including morning show host Miss Jones, have been suspended and their salaries are being donated to the relief effort, to which Emmis this week pledged $1 million.

Grubman had put out a statement for the station early last week announcing the suspensions and Emmis outrage and regret.

The story has been picked up by media around the world and sparked outrage on the station's home turf in New York.


Qorvis Communications promoted the first Counter-Terrorism International Conference on behalf of client Saudi Arabia.

Delegates from more than 50 countries, including France, Germany, U.S., Russia, Colombia, Japan, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and China, attended the event in Riyadh (Feb. 5-8).

Representatives from the United Nations, European Union, League of Arab States, African Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference also were there.

The conference kicked off with a recitation of verses from the Koran, and followed with an update from Saudi Arabia's Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah on the Kingdom's effort to crack down on terrorism.

Go Daddy, the Internet domain registry which generated press for its Super Bowl ad, has hired Ruder Finn as its first agency of record.

Nima Kelly, the Arizona-based company's VP of PR who recently joined from sister company Wild West, told O Dwyer's GoDaddy considered two or three other firms for the account after a review.

She said the company decided to bring in outside PR because it is in a period "phenomenal growth" and wanted PR help to support an ongoing campaign, beginning with the Super Bowl push.

RF's New York office handled publicity surrounding the ad, which spoofed the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" scandal with a woman testifying on C-Span.

RF urged Go Daddy to show the ad to the N.Y. Times. Forbes and the N.Y. Post did follow ups.


Chicago counselor Thomas Harris has pulled the plug on the annual Harris/Impulse Research PR Client Survey which was won by Fleishman-Hillard 12 years in a row ("#1 Quality Reputation for 12 Consecutive Years," "#1 Brand Awareness," and "#1 Overall Performance").

Harris wrote to the PR firm sponsors that some of them have said their clients are objecting to "so many repetitive surveys, in addition to those conducted by PR firms themselves."

He noted that there are "two new surveys by the trade press" and that while he feels his own survey "has been the gold standard and the best buy in PR," the number of agencies sponsoring the survey has declined.

"It is unfeasible and unprofitable for us to continue fielding our survey," he said.

Despite the increased competition, he said the 2004 survey obtained replies from 1,000+ clients, achieving a 34% response rate. One of the new surveys, he said, only had a 7% response rate.

Internet Edition, Feb. 9, 2005 Page 8




While on the subject of government-funded PR programs, a $30 million drive has just been launched nationwide to tell teenagers that "driving an SUV at high speeds is dangerous."

A car-sized furry beast nicknamed "Esuvee" with headlights for eyes will warn teens that SUVs are not "sports cars" and drivers should not go "zipping around" in them. The SUVs allegedly are more prone to "rollovers," says the year-long campaign.

Esuvees can be found "in sea level as well as mountainous altitudes" and they "roam near rivers, lakes, swamps and football tailgate parties," says the copy, which New York Post columnist Collin Levey found to be "cute" but also "outlandish and dopey."

She wonders how much attention teenage boys will give it. The money is coming from the $51 million Ford paid after the accidents involving its Explorers.

States waging the campaign ( are Florida (lead state), Connecticut, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, Washington, Tennessee and Georgia.

Bartle Bogele Hegarty (Publicis) created the "beast" and is handling the $27M ad campaign. Peppercom is handling the PR drive which started out with segments on the three morning TV shows Jan. 31.

Reporters from major media are calling us since they can t get through to executives at Ketchum and its parent, Omnicom.

We have become, in effect, the PR firm for these two companies, supplying basic information, documents, and background including the history of PR and the major trends of the past few decades.

This is a job that should be done by Patricia Sloan, OMC spokesperson with help from CEO John Wren and CFO Randy Weisenberger, the only three people who speak for OMC.

Wren, formerly at Arthur Andersen, and Weisenberger, are both numbers-oriented and avoid questioning by reporters.

We shouldn t single out OMC for being uncooperative with the press. Interpublic, whose PR/IR is handled by Philippe Krakowsky, and WPP (Kevin McCormack), are almost the same. Sloane was with Advertising Age and McCormack with AdWeek.

There are no spokespeople available in the U.S. for the other two ad/PR groups–Havas and Publicis.

The PR heads of the Big Three are paid very well and our experience is their main job is press avoidance. They are definitely not available for explanations of the PR business to investigative reporters. Krakowsky, for instance, got a little over $1 million in pay, stock and bonuses in 2003 plus $28,000 for medical. He joined IPG in '02 and also owns 68,668 shares worth $918,000. PR students should take note that tightly controlling the information flow pays well.

Here's what we tell the reporters: the ad groups, starting in 1978 when Foote, Cone & Belding purchased Carl Byoir & Assocs., bought out almost all the big PR firms except family-owned Edelman PR Worldwide and Ruder Finn.

The groups also bought out hundreds of ad agencies to boost quarterly sales and earnings. But this piled on debt which was $13.31 billion as of Sept. 30, 2004. Where is this $13B? In the pockets of the principals who sold out their PR and ad businesses for extravagant sums and in the pockets of the ad/PR group chieftains, who pay themselves extravagantly. As for broad changes in PR, it's become much more impersonal and "transactional" (like making a deposit in a bank or buying a newspaper in a store) partly because of the need to maximize profits.

The typical A/E of decades ago had a degree of independence. He or she was armed with a hefty expense account and told to make as many friends in the media as possible. They were not micro-managed. Many PR pros built up legions of press contacts and often started their own firms with this foundation. Today's A/E is tightly controlled and likely to have no expense account. Media contacts are monitored.

The worst thing the congloms have done to their PR firms is stop them from reporting annual fees or employment totals. This will be the third year of the ban that robs them of their ability to position themselves as at or near the top nationally, in their local areas, or in about a dozen special categories such as healthcare, technology and financial.

PR pros did not like the definition of PR that Newsweek columnist (and frequent cable TV guest) Jonathan Alter gave in the 2/7 issue: "propaganda masquerading as journalism." PR people estimated that about half of the material in that issue of Newsweek was originated by PR people or had their input...Omnicom's website displays a lengthy "Code of Conduct" that says OMC's "reputation for integrity and fair dealing is essential to our continued success" and that OMC is committed to "fair and honest conduct." We don t think OMC is fair to the press trying to cover it nor is its Ketchum unit fair to PRSA when it takes 89 Silver Anvils from PRSA but cuts its PRSA memberships two-thirds to 22. It's not fair for OMC to move its annual meeting out of New York when most analysts and trade press are there... analysts are not going to like John Wren's sale of $3.4M in OMC stock (page one).

The sale of $34M stock by insiders last year (including $3.2M by Wren) is one reason the stock is still 20+ points below its high of five years ago, analysts say. The OMC "code," by the way, headlines "No Insider Trading."

–Jack O'Dwyer


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