The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 1
FIRMS CHECK OUT $21M RFP
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.
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.
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.
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.
and community outreach to county commissions, media training,
promotional materials, and web work are all part of the
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.
contract is slated to be awarded by mid-March.
F-H'S HABER ASSUMES
TOP ATLA POST
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
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
U.S. PR BIZ
Four Omnicom units collected $222.7 millionor nearly
90 percentof 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 millionor
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
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 LANDS
VIRGIN ISLES ACCOUNT
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
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
OMC'S WREN SELLS
$3.4M IN STOCK
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.
odwyerpr.com 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
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
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
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.
EPLEY NAMES HERMAN CEO
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,"
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 namemeasured 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
PENTAGON PROBES PAYOLA
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
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
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 HIRES BG&R
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
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
The Government is working to sell its stake in Al-Jazeera
to private interests as one way to boost U.S. ties.
PRESIDENT'S REINS AT TJG
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
Ortega, a Miami native, opened B-M's U.S. Hispanic practice
Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 3
RADIO NEWS FINDS
TIME FOR PITCHES
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. "
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@ marketplace.org.
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
"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
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 Ecuyer212/301-5048;
Snow's producer is Griff Jenkins202/824-6316, and
Mitch Davis, who runs the news service212/301-3925.
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 womenand
their partnersabout 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.
"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,
Jennifer Gilbert was promoted to editor-in-chief of Sales
& Marketing Management, where she was executive editor.
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 4
DAYS NAMED EDITOR
OF PHILA. DAILY
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,
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
He is married to Angela Dodson, executive editor of Black
Issues Book Review and was named managing editor last April.
EDITOR QUITS OVER
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 inclusivewe
provide stories that appeal to clerks and CEOs, college
students, cafe owners and cleaning ladies," said Elmer,
who joined the paper 18 months ago.
WSJ'S NEW SECTION
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"
Before that, he was a technology reporter and columnist.
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
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.
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.
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
97 JOBS LOST
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 WSJ.com, 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.
LIFE & STYLE WEEKLY
HAS NEW EDITOR
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.
EDITOR OF's &MM MAGAZINE
Jennifer Gilbert was promoted to editor-in-chief of Sales
& Marketing Management magazine, where she was executive
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.
formerly with PR Consulting overseeing the men's fashion
clients, recently joined Men.Style.com as men's market editor.
is the new editor of the OPC Bulletin, published
monhtly for members of the New York-based Overseas Press
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.
previously a reporter and columnist at The Street.com, has
joined Money magazine along with Ryan D'Agostino,
from Jungle Media, and Diane Harris, the new assistant managing
Amy Feldman, Pablo Galarza, Michael Powe, Nick Pachetti
and Stephanie Smith are leaving the editorial staff on Feb.
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.
Edition, Feb. 9, 2005, Page 7
GA TOUTS U.K. INVESTMENT
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.
& Knowlton had the six-figure account.
Illingworth, managing director for GA in New York, heads
the work for GEP.
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.
of that push includes outreach from U.K. entrepreneurs to
their U.S. counterparts.
is eying expansion of the effort into the Asia-Pacific region
and India, as well as further outreach in Europe.
PARTS WITH ENGLANDER
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
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
KLORES TAKES ON HOT 97
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
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.
DADDY GOES WITH RF
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
RF urged Go Daddy to show
the ad to the N.Y. Times. Forbes and the N.Y.
Post did follow ups.
UG ON ANNUAL SURVEY
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,"
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 (esuvee.com) 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
There are no spokespeople available in the U.S. for the
other two ad/PR groupsHavas 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
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
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