Contact O'Dwyer's : 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page

Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Subscribe today


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 1


Georgia has issued an “intent to award” notice to GolinHarris for the state’s tourism PR account after it canceled an initial review and put the $300K/year work out for a second set of proposals.

Ketchum, Fleishman-Hillard, Cookerly, Hope-Beckham, and The Pont Group submitted proposals. The Pont Group came out as the winner after the first review, but the state, citing “administrative reasons,” released a new RFP for the account.

The planned pact is with the state’s Dept. of Economic Development and covers PR for tourism, international trade, film and entertainment industry relations, and outreach to business sectors like bioscience and technology.

Manning Selvage & Lee had worked with the department in the past. After a comment period, a contract with GH is expected to be inked.


The tourism entity for Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Florida is seeking letters of interest from PR firms as its $500K/year account goes into mandatory review.

Jessica Taylor, media relations director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, told O’Dwyer’s that a short-list will be culled from firms submitting letters to the county’s request by Jan. 3.

M Silver & Associates has handled the account for two decades.

The Bureau’s 2008 plans include increased outreach to affluent and 30-something “aspirationals.” PR efforts include a winter “pop-up store” in New York, luxury media roundtable, and the continuation of its “Beach on Wheels” tour in the U.K.

The request for letters of intent has been posted online at


Lynne Brum has joined Porter Novelli Life Sciences in Boston as executive VP. She made that move following a 13-year stint at Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

As VP-strategic communications, Brum helped Vertex raise $1B in capital, and launch two human immunodeficiency virus drugs (Agenerase and Lexiva).

Earlier Brum was VP at Feinstein Kean Healthcare and Biogen.

She co-chairs the marketing/communications committee of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and served on the BIO 2007 convention’s communications panel. Brum reports to Carin Canale, president of PNLS.


Fleishman-Hillard collected $6.4M from Saudi Arabia to promote King Abdullah University of Science and Technology during the six-month period ended Oct. 31, 2007.

It received that money from Aramco Overseas Co., a unit of the Kingdom’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco.

More than 1,500 people joined King Abdullah Oct. 21 at the ground-breaking ceremony for Kaust, which is expected to open on the shores of the Red Sea (Thuwal) next September.

The school promises to be a graduate-level research university dedicated to “inspiring a new age of scientific achievement” in the Kingdom and region.

Kaust will have one of the world’s biggest endowments to recruit top-flight facility and students.

It has already forged partnerships with the American University in Cairo, National University of Singapore and Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay.

F-H did branding work for Kaust and created its visual identity.

The firm established editorial guidelines for the university’s communications material, launched a website in both English and Arabic, ran print and online ads and monitored the media for coverage.

The Omnicom unit chalked up expenses of $4.2M during the six months.

The biggest chunk of those outlays—$3.9M—went to Siegel + Gale, F-H’s affiliated brand identity firm, which has an office in Dubai.


Wal-Mart said it will revamp and take over Working Families for Wal-Mart, the group created and run by the retailer’s PR firm, Edelman, to counter union attacks.

The group’s website has been taken offline and replaced with the message “Please check back soon for a new site brought to you by Wal-Mart.” The web page’s title has been shortened to “For Wal-Mart.

It was under the guise of the Working Families group last year that Edelman was blasted for bankrolling a “fake” blogger who traveled the country in an RV and camped overnight in Wal-Mart parking lots.

The group also took a hit when former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young made racially insensitive remarks while on the payroll of the Wal-Mart group.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dave Tovar told Associated Press that operating the Working Families group in-house as an internal program is the best way to tell Wal-Mart’s story.

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 2


While the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has clouded Pakistan’s political future and its relationship with the U.S., also in doubt are newly launched efforts to raise the profile of her party in the U.S. and abroad.

Scribe Strategies & Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based, government relations and political consulting firm, had been working with Bhutto and her associates in the Pakistan People’s Party for the last several years. Joseph Szlavik, president of the firm, said most of his firm’s counsel was in regard to political issues. He personally met with Bhutto on several occasions in Washington, London and Dubai.

“Our relationship was cordial and Mrs. Bhutto was always gracious, kind, and intellectually engaged during our conversations,” he told O’Dwyer’s.

Scribe deployed a website with political tech consulting firm Aristotle International to help the PPP raise money outside of Pakistan. Szlavik said the future of that site,, “is not certain” but remains active “until further notice.”

Bhutto was Pakistan’s last popularly elected prime minister and the face of opposition to President Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf declared emergency rule in the country in early November, sparking an international outcry and the resignation of its U.S. lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates. The emergency rule was lifted last month.

Cassidy had registered a $1.2M one-year contract with the Justice Dept. on Oct. 4, and officially terminated it on Nov. 7.

The firm also ended registrations for staffers from public affairs sister firm Powell Tate.

Bhutto’s death has sent economic, political, and diplomatic ripples throughout the world.

“BiBi was more than a client,” said Szlavik. “She was a friend and she will be impossible to forget.”


Utah is reaching out to PR, advertising and marketing shops to produce a public information push supporting “healthy marriages.”

The state, which has a divorce rate above the national average, has issued an RFP and allocated a $335K annual budget and plans to award a five-year contract to promote “healthy marriages.”

The communications work is outlined with a special focus on young adults and low-income couples.

Utah men and women are four years younger than the national average when marrying for the first time, a fact the state believes may be causing the elevated divorce rate.

The divorce rate for Utahans is 4.1 per 1,000, compared with the 3.6 national average.

Marketing, press outreach, events, advertising, and focus groups are among the assignments planned.

The Beehive State established the Utah Commission on Marriage in 1998 to strengthen unions in the state by focusing on education and programs for both engaged and married couples.

Utah’s Dept. of Workforce Services is footing the bill for the campaign. With options, the pact could stretch to 10 years.


The federal government is looking for public affairs help for the 1.7M-acre Klamath National Forest along the Oregon-California border, a key recreational and industrial swath that is prone to forest fires.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, issued an RFQ for a PA contractor to support work like news release preparation, media relations and events, research, and revamps of its website and Fire Information Operations Handbook. An option on the planned three-month contract covers “unforeseen” emergencies like fires, floods or other natural disasters. All of the work is planned for the forest supervisor’s offices in Yreka, Calif.

The Klamath National Forest is known for its fishing, boating, hiking, as well as timber, gold, and grazing lands. The RFQ can be downloaded here (PDF):


Gary Stockman replaced Helen Ostrowski as CEO of Porter Novelli effective Jan. 1 in what the PR firm calls a “long-planned leadership succession.”

The 56-year-old Ostrowski held the top post for the past five years. She assumed the chairman post.

Stockman, 46, was upped from the presidency. He is a 12-year veteran of the Omnicom unit.

Chief client officer Julie Winskie, 44, is now Americas president, while chief invention officer Jean Wyllie, 42, moves to the president post for Europe/Middle East/Africa. She retains digital and social media duties.


Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher has been brought in by railroad operator CSX as it faces a proxy battle with two hedge funds.

Sard Verbinnen & Co. is making the case for Children’s Investment Fund and 3G Capital Management, which have nominated a slate of five directors. SV chairman/CEO George Sard and principal Jonathan Gasthalter are handling the account.

The two funds hold an interest of about 11 percent in CSX.

JF is helping Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX back its current board, noting the company’s stock price has nearly tripled over the past three years. Partner Joele Frank and director Andrew Siegel are handling that effort. The hedge funds are taking issue with spending and corporate governance issues at CSX.

Cincinnati-based marketing and comms. firm Voice of Your Customer has edged four shops for a $98K contract to support a social marketing effort to curb tobacco use among Buckeye State college students.

Clark Communications (Columbus), Hybrid Marketing (Cleveland), Innis Maggiore (Canton), and JT Consulting (Kent, Ohio) pitched for the account.

The state notes that college students are the youngest legal marketing demographic for the tobacco industry. It wants a campaign to offset handouts, events and other PR from tobacco companies on campus.

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 3


The New York Times said conservative scribe Bill Kristol will pen a weekly op-ed column starting on January 7.

The editor of The Weekly Standard is being hailed as a "captivating writer and keen observer of the political landscape" by the Times' editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal.

Kristol was chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and Reagan Education Secretary Bill Bennett.


Dennis FitzSimons, the former ad executive who took Tribune Co. private via an $8.2 billion deal engineered by real estate mogul Sam Zell, has resigned as CEO.

In a message to staffers, FitzSimons believes the Tribune Co. will be successfully revamped “out of the glare of the public markets.”

The 57-year-old FitzSimons joined Tribune in `82. He became president in `01 and CEO in `03.

Tribune is owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Baltimore Sun and 24 TV stations. It goes private with a debt burden of $13B.

Zell, who has taken over the CEO role, praised FitzSimons as leading the company through a “challenging environment.” He wishes him success in his next career.


Newsweek has teamed with the Media Bloggers Assn. to unveil “The Ruckus,” a group blog about politics timed for the Presidential election.

Ruckus, according to Deidre Depke, editor of, will be a “key part of our `08 campaign coverage.” It will “introduce readers to a new array of voices and will encourage enlightened political discourse as the `08 race steps into high gear.”

Ruckus features bloggers of various political viewpoints.

MBA, formed in `04, is a nonpartisan group dedicated to the development of “citizen journalism.”


Viacom has joined with Microsoft to a multi-year digital advertising and content partnership that is valued at $500M.

Microsoft’s Atlas ad platform will serve as the ad server for Viacom’s bevy of websites, while Microsoft agrees to buy ads on its partner’s cable and online networks (MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Paramount Pictures.)

Viacom’s online revenues doubled to $500M in 2007.


Brandon Holley, who was an editor at the folded Jane magazine, is now at Yahoo Lifestyles, working as executive producer in charge of good, health, fitness and environmental content.

Holley joined Jane in `05 as editor. Earlier, she was founding editor of Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Elle Girl.


Former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner wants to transform Topps, the venerable trading card party that he bought for $385M, into a media and entertainment company.

“Bazooka Joe,” the eye-patch wearing star of Topps’ comics, is Eisner’s new “Mickey Mouse,” according to the Financial Times.

He noted that Topps is “a little smaller than Disney” when he took the helm more than 20 years ago. Eisner sees a world of “upside” potential for Topps overseas.


News Corporation, fresh from its $5.6B acquisition of Dow Jones & Co., nixed a published report that it is talking to Germany’s Bertelsmann about selling book publisher HarperCollins.

News Corp. denies that Bertelsmann offered $1B for the publisher, but that its CEO Rupert Murdoch wanted twice that amount. Murdoch's company maintains that no takeover discussion with any publisher has taken place.

HarperCollins suffered a $19M decline in first-quarter operating income to $36M due to bullish year ago results from Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

The publisher reported $330M in quarter-ended September revenues, sparked by Jenna Bush’s “Ana’s Story” and Jessica Seinfeld’s “Deceptively Delicious.”

Meanwhile, a Dow Jones plant in Sharon, Penn., has begun printing copies of the News Corp.’s New York Post for distribution in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Buffalo.


The reworked website for Baby Boomers,, is looking for feature stories from PR professionals that would be of interest to Boomers with active lifestyles.

The pub is looking for features with visuals and photos, not press releases. Submission guidelines are on the site. Inquiries go to [email protected].

David Henderson, a veteran of Edelman and Euro RSCG Magnet, is a co-founder of BoomerCafe.


Susan Taylor, the veteran editor of Essence magazine, is leaving in mid-January after 37 years. She is focusing an organization she founded to help troubled children, according to the New York Times.

Sixty-one-year-old Taylor joined Essence in 1970, its first year. She became editor-in-chief in 1981.

She is leaving to work for the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which she founded as Essence Cares and urges black adults to mentor young people.

Terrie Williams, former comms. director of Essence who runs her own firm, told the Times that Taylor "takes young people with her to most of the events she goes to. She's put kids through college. She's made calls to get kids in distressed situations in to college. She really is an icon in the black community."

Essence is owned by Time Warner.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 4


The Chicago Sun-Times announced plans to cut operating costs by $50M in `08, a scenario that may lead to slashing a quarter of its 160-member editorial staff.

Michael Cooke, editor-in-chief, and Cyrus Freidheim, CEO of Sun-Times Group, disclosed the cutbacks in memos to staffers sent Dec. 14.

Neither executive gave a precise number of possible job losses.

Cooke said advertising and circulation revenues continue to fall, a drop “way outside the industry average.” Cost-saving moves “give us a future.”

Freidheim said the company is ready to move beyond the Conrad Black trial and Canadian tax difficulties. The biggest cost reduction in the paper’s history is needed for “long-time viability.”

Actions will include a “reduction in staff, further outsourcing of selected activities and reformatting our products.”

Freidheim assured staffers the company is “not abandoning print, but the growth in this business is online.”

Cutbacks begin in January and should be completed by the end of June.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is looking for a sponsor to bankroll a Salvation Army benefit slated for its Madison Square Garden premiere on March 20.

The sponsor will receive credit for footing the bill that allows 10,000 underprivileged kids to see “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Print ads (New York Times, Daily News, New York Post), posters, event signage and emails will alert people of the corporate sponsorship.

PR outreach will be conducted by Hill & Knowlton and Alan Miller, firms that work for Ringling Bros.’ parent, Feld Entertainment.

The Erlick Group’s Jim Erlick has info on sponsorship opportunities. He is at 212/418-7372 and [email protected].

Briefs ___________________________

Parade magazine pushed up the release of an interview with Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto after she was assassinated last week. The magazine, which said the feature was "one of the last person-to-person interviews" with Bhutto, had the article slated for its Jan. 6 issue, but released it online on Dec. 27, the day of her slaying.

The Washington Post raised its newsstand price from $0.35 to $0.50 on Dec. 31, within the D.C. metropolitan area. The home delivery price remains $0.35. The Post last changed its daily newsstand price from $0.25 to $0.35 in 2001. The Sunday newsstand price remains $1.50.

Also, The Washington Post Company was added to Standard & Poor's 500 Index after the close of trading on December 28. The Post had been in the S&P MidCap 400.

The Politico, a “must-read” for political junkies, has signed on as `08 media sponsor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Innovative Advocacy” series.

The Economist is developing plans for a social networking platform, reports the U.K.’s New Media Age. The magazine wants to develop a portal for its 3M readers and create “a conversation between them.”

New Media Age notes the Economist’s move into social networking comes as the magazine launches its first online video efforts.

The Dallas Morning News named the illegal immigrant as its “Texan of the Year” on Dec. 30.

The newspaper’s editorial board recognizes the “myriad, profound ways in which this group of people impacts Texas, ranging from the economy to politics to the most basic sense of culture.”

The board said "there seems to be little middle ground in [the] debate," noting "spectacular fights over their presence ... broke out across Texas this past year, adding to the national pressure cooker as only Texas can."

"The story of the illegal immigrant in Texas is rich in history, complexity and controversy, and the impact on the state is pervasive," said Keven Ann Willey, vice president and editorial page editor. "Because of this complexity, and also because of their illegal status, it was not possible for us to call out a single individual, but as the Board debated it became clear to us that as a group, these people merited recognition."

People __________________________

Chris McCumber has been promoted to executive VP/marketing, digital and brand strategy at USA Network. He worked at Razorfish and MTV Networks before USA in ’01.


The National Press Club in Washington is marking its 100th year with the premiere of the documentary, "The National Press Club at 100: A Century of Headlines," on Jan. 4.

The club will also present a panel discussion with veteran members like Helen Thomas, Jack Germond and NPC President Emeritus John Cosgrove.

The events are the first in a series of events to mark the centennial of the club.

Journalists participating include Walter Cronkite -- the first recipient of the club’s Fourth Estate Award for distinguished journalism -- Thomas, Austin Kiplinger and Simeon Booker. Also featured in the program are Bob Schieffer, Bob Woodward, Jim Lehrer, Liz Carpenter, Ben Bradlee, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert.

The documentary was produced by Auteur Productions, Ltd.

The club notes that while it continues to be a meeting place for journalists and news sources in D.C., it has positioned itself as a full-service facility for the researching, reporting, and dissemination of news. It counts 3,500 members in Washington and worldwide.

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 5


Business software maker Sybase has turned to Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher as it faces a possible proxy fight with its No. 2 shareholder, hedge fund Sandell Asset Management.

Sandell, which has upped its stake in Sybase in recent months and says its stock price should be higher, has nominated its own slate of three directors for the Dublin, Calif.-based database developer’s board. Sandell suggested Sybase’s mobility division could be spun off in an IPO, and that the company should move to repurchase shares or pursue a sale.

“We have had an open dialogue with Sandell, as we do with all Sybase stockholders, since they first invested in our Company,” Sybase said in a statement, noting it repurchased $33M in shares in the third quarter and has bought back $311M shares since 2004.

Joele Frank partner Matthew Sherman and director Eric Brielmann are handling Sybase.

Sybase has not yet set a date for its 2008 meeting.


AnnaMaria DeSalva, Hill & Knowlton’s worldwide healthcare chief, has been tapped as a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s risk communication advisory committee.

The newly formed entity is to counsel the FDA how best to educate the public about risks and benefits of regulated drugs so as to facilitate their medical purpose.

DeSalva was chosen from a field of 240 nominees.

Paul Taaffe, CEO of H&K, said in a statement that DeSalva’s appointment to the committee “speaks volumes of her career” and her goal to “ensure that communications in healthcare be viewed as instrumental if not crucial to quality health outcomes.”


The California Milk Advisory Board is looking for a national PR firm via SelectResources International. Context Marketing (Sausalito) is the current incumbent. It will participate in the review.

CMAB, an entity of the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture, is bankrolled by the Golden State’s 2,000 dairy farmers.

Headquartered in Modesto and San Francisco, CMAB is one of the nation’s largest commodity boards. It runs programs such as “Real California Milk” and “Real California Cheese.”

SRI’s Dan Orsborn (310-453-9200) is contact.

Sam Singer made San Francisco’s 7x7 Magazine’s “power list” of the most influential people in the city. Dubbed “The Fixer,” Singer is touted as the man to call if your “reputation, fortune or political future is at stake.”

Singer’s reputation, according to the magazine, is why Levi Strauss, BART rail system, National Football League’s 49ers and Lennar Corp. (redevelopers of Candlestick Park and would-be landlords of the 49ers) use Singer Assocs. president as their spokesperson.

Singer sold his Kamer Singer Assocs. high-tech firm to GCI Group in `99.


New York Area

Affect Strategies, New York/Valera Global, luxury executive transportation services in U.S. and European cities, for PR.

Burson-Marsteller, New York/Costa Rica Tourist Board, for a two-year North American PR campaign. B-M's Canadian affiliate National PR will also work on the account.

Cornerstone PR, New York/Battle for Manhattan, sports event, for PR and media relations.

The Marino Organization, New York/Carnegie Hall, for community relations and PR for its expansion plans; Chelsea Market, for PR and marketing; Massey Knakal Realty Services, real estate, for PR; Metropolitan Real Estate Investors, for marketing, PR and branding, and NBBJ, architecture and design firm, for PR in New York.

Rubenstein PR, New York/, private social networking website that connects apartment dwellers, for PR;, virtual-memory website, for PR; Berry-Hill Galleries, art dealer, for PR; Capstone Equities, real estate investment firm, for PR; Mareazul, development on Mayan Riviera, for PR at it approaches its completion date in 2009; Angsana Samana Bay, Dominican Republic development, for PR, and Prodigy International, real estate sales and marketing, for PR.

5W PR, New York/AHAVA, skincare brand, for PR.


Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I./Touchstone Crystal, create-your-own jewelry, for PR.

Vanguard Communications, Washington, D.C./Campaign to End Obesity; Consortium for Ocean Leadership; D.C. Rape Crisis Center; Free Range Studios, backers of the online film "The Story of Stuff"; RTI International, and the Helping Hands Project of the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority.


Financial Relations Board, Chicago/GeoVax Labs, biotechnology focused on HIV/AIDS vaccines, as AOR for investor and public relations.

John Bailey & Associates, Troy, Mich./Saleen, performance and racing vehicles, and T-Systems, IT and communication technology unit of Deutsche Telecom, for PR.

Brendy Barr Communications, Oakland Township, Mich./Blue Aber Medical Spa & Wellness, for PR.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide, San Rafael, Calif./California Closet Company, spatial design solutions, as AOR for PR. Double-Forte had the account. The company is planning a new marketing push in 2008.

JS2 Communications, Los Angeles/Paperfish; Lawry's The Prime Rib, and Literati 2, eateries. The firm also picked up Leblon Cachaca; Harry & David; Grace; Noe at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, and Zov's Bistro.

Pollack PR Marketing Group, Los Angeles/Axiotron, an Apple Proprietary Solution Provider, for online and traditional media relations to supports its tablet Mac computer, the Modbook.

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 6


Heathere Evans-Keenan, who heads her own firm, and Renee Kopkowski, director of PR for Mars North America, are taking over as presidents of PR Society’s two largest chapters–National Capital and Georgia, respectively– for 2008.

The Georgia chapter, with nearly 1,000 members, is second only to National Capital, the Society’s largest with more than 1,200 members.

Evans-Keenan is principal and owner of Keenan PR in Arlington, Va, and takes over for ’07 president Sandra Willis Hannon. Barbara Burfield, a senior advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Joint Communication at the Defense Dept., is president-elect of the National Capital chapter for ‘08. Jeff Ghannam, comms. director of the Biotechnology Institute is treasurer, and Rita Mhley, president of Mhley/Davis & Associates, is secretary. The chapter has eight directors and 13 Assembly delegates for 2008.

For the Georgia chapter, Kopkowsi takes over for '07 president John Walker, a senior VP for Edelman.

Rounding out the Georgia chapter’s elected officers for 2008 are president-elect Michael Neumeier, principal, Arketi Group; secretary Timothy Hussey, director of marketing, Emory School of Law, and treasurer Karla Harvill, director of internal comms., Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation.

The chapter has 10 directors-at-large for 2008 and nine Assembly delegates.


Florida State University in Tallahassee is starting an online course on Hispanic marketing communications this month which it claims is the first of its kind.

The 15-week course, which begins Jan. 8, covers language use, Hispanic cultural insights for marketing, case studies, research and strategies.

Felipe Korzenny heads the university’s Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication. He said the course is meant to “satisfy the demand of many marketers in U.S. industry” that have requested such a course.

The class runs through April 20 and can be completed from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Course description is at

BRIEFS: D S Simon Productions, New York, picked up three AVA Awards, including a gold award and two platinums awards. The video PR shop was given a gold award in the video/film/corporate image category for a Joseph Abboud project titled “Made in America.” Simon won two platinum awards in video/film/corporate and the web/podcasts category for a project with Frankel and Giles X/O Condominiums. ...Maconomy US, which makes software for marketing communications, signed Grey Canada to replace the agency’s previous platform with Maconomy’s Agency Solution. Maconomy said it made sense for the 120-staffer agency to use its software to automate as many administrative processes as possible to save time.



Barry Stagg, former senior VP of corporate comms. for Fox Family Worldwide, to 4Kids Entertainment, New York, in that same title. Stagg had been working in the new media space for Amp'd Mobile, and

Doree Damoulakis, formerly of Sloane & Company, to Hellerman Baretz Communications, New York, as an A/E. Andrew Ryan exits the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research for an A/E post in Hellerman's Washington, D.C., office.

Christopher Wightman, publisher of Golf Magazine, to the United States Golf Assn., Far Hills, N.J., as managing director of communications. He was previously VP-national sales director at Golf Digest.

Lori Rodney, A/S, Cohn & Wolfe, to MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J., as an A/S.

Sheila Blackweel, a 20 year comms. veteran, to VP and director of comms. and public affairs for SRI International, a government technology and strategic consulting company based in Fairfax, Va.

Will Davison, A/E for Greer Margolis, to William Mills Agency, Washington, D.C., as an account associate.

Brian Cunningham, a PR pro for the Philadelphia Eagles, Comcast-Spectacor, and Smith O'Keefe & Associates, to RT&E Integrated Communications, Wilmington, Del., as a client service account manager.

Joel Mandina, who joined Mullen in Boston after Hurricane Katrina, to Deveney Communications, New Orleans. He had been writing for the Times-Picayune.


LeslieAnne Wade to senior VP, communications, CBS Sports, New York. She oversees corporate and media relations effort for sports businesses including CBS Sports,, CSTV and, and works closely with Showtime Sports and other sports properties.

John Bianchi to VP, Goodman Media International, New York. He joined the firm in 2004 and was formerly director of comms. for the National Audubon Society. Beth Olsen, who joined in 2005, was promoted to senior A/D and Sabrina Strauss (2003) was upped to A/D.

Andrea Morgan to executive VP, managing director of consumer brands, North America, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, New York. Kristin Dwyer was upped to VP in the firm's consumer practice. Morgan is credited with securing work for Schering-Plough and Sears. Dwyer has managed work for S-P, Dos Equis, IAC and Yahoo! HotJobs.

Shannon Benton to senior A/E, Kleber & Associates, Atlanta.

Emile Mahanti, Leslie Pardo and Alan Upchurch to senior VPs, Marx Layne & Co., Farmington Hills, Mich.

Ruben Gonzalez to partner, Englander & Associates, Los Angeles. Ruben works with Motorola, Westfield and the L.A. Hotel Assn.

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 7


Omnicom, owner of more than 1,500 ad agencies, PR firms and other companies, closed at $46.55 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange, or $2.20 lower than its price on Dec. 17, 1999, eight years ago.

OMC reported 177.5M shares out at the end of 1999 or the equivalent of 355M adjusted for the recent 2-1 split.

It had as many as 188M shares (376M) out as of 2001 but has been buying its shares back on the open market in order to reduce the float.

Financial writer Christopher Byron, in an article in the Aug. 14, 2006 New York Post, accused OMC of “pouring billions into goosing its stock.”

The NYP headlined “Buyback Blarney.” Byron was generally critical of buyback programs, saying that a company could actually suffer from such a strategy “which clearly seems to have been the case with the OMC program.”

He was especially critical of OMC borrowing funds to buy back its stock.

OMC, he said, had “plowed an astounding $1.25 billion into buybacks” by the end of 2004 and spent “an amazing” $958M on buybacks during the first half of 2006.

Said the Byron article in a subhead: “The buyback program (of OMC) has added more than $3 billion in debt to the company’s once-pristine balance sheet.” Finance!Yahoo puts current OMC longterm debt at $3.07B.

Previous to its strategy of buying back its own stock, OMC had been spending slightly over $800M yearly in acquiring ad agencies, PR firms and other businesses. Such acquisitions, with a few notable exceptions, were usually unidentified.

OMC, headed by CEO John Wren and CFO Randall Weisenburger, executive VP and CFO, has held its annual meeting outside of New York for the past five years after many years of holding it in New York.

Locations were Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and San Francisco.

A reporter from the Denver Business Journal, told about the meeting in Denver May 24 this year, went to the meeting but was told on entering the room that the shareholder part of the meeting was over and the board had to go into executive session. (The reporter had received the proxy of the O’Dwyer Co., which has a few shares of stock of OMC).

A local reporter was hired to cover the meeting in Dallas in 2005 but was unable to get any answers to questions. He was interrupted during the middle of a question by a motion for adjournment and was not allowed to ask any more questions although he held the proxy of the O’Dwyer Co.

Analysts Favor OMC

Brokerage houses, all of them doing business with OMC, have almost universally recommended the stock over the past eight years in spite of its longterm performance. Current recommendations, as tracked by Finance!Yahoo, are five brokerages advising “strong buy,” three “buy,” three “hold,” and one “sell.” (Only one of the 12 is advising “sell”).

Yahoo!Finance also lists ten recent changes in recommendations and only one of them is for a “sell” (Banc of America Securities).

Recommending a “buy” was Deutsche Securities on June 25, 2007 after downgrading OMC from a “buy” to a “hold” on Feb. 14, 2007.

Credit Suisse on Oct. 25, 2006 downgraded the stock from “outperform” to “neutral.”

Wachovia initiated coverage on Sept. 14, 2006, and rated OMC “outperform.” Lehman Brothers initiated coverage on March 16, 2006 with an “overweight” recommendation. CIBC World Markets on Feb. 16, 2006, upgraded OMC from “sector perform” to “sector outperform.” JP Morgan on Sept. 16, 2005, upgraded the stock from “underweight” to “neutral.”

Wall Street sources who were asked about the failure of the stock to move over an eight-year period said that OMC executives were very “tight” with information about the company and that there has been a decline in media stocks in general in recent years.

The main generator of ad agency revenues and profits, the TV spot, is under competition, said the sources. Banc of America Securities, in recently putting a “sell” on the stock, said the DDB ad unit OMC does not have the creative edge it once had. The $3 billion debt of the company was also mentioned as a deterrent to a higher stock price. Barron’s has said too much insider selling of the stock has caused confidence in OMC to waver. A complaint often heard in Wall Street circles about OMC is, “We don’t know where they get their numbers from.”

Analyst Contacts Listed on OMC Web

The OMC website lists 12 analysts who are covering the stock and provides their telephone numbers.

The phone numbers had been taken off for several years and recently were returned.

Analysts and their companies are: Joe Arns, Banc of America Securities; Alexia Quadrani, Bear Stearns & Co.; Michael Nathanson, Sanford Bernstein & Co.; Jason Helfstein, CIBC World Markets; Paul Ginocchio, Deutsche Bank NA; Craig Huber, Lehman Brothers; Karl Choi, Merrill Lynch (who replaced Lauren Fine earlier this year); Stewart Barry, ThinkEquity Partners; Brian Shipman, UBS (US); John Janedis, Wachovia Securities, and Troy Mastin, William Blair & Co.


Blackwater, which employs 1,000 armed guards in Iraq to protect American diplomats, has hired Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle as its lobbyist.

Gregory Hahn is the contact. Blackwater spokesperson Anne Tyrrell could not be reached for comment about the use of the Indianapolis-based law firm/lobbyist.

The probe into the September shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater guards continues.

That investigation has widened with reports that a Blackwater bodyguard shot Hentish, the New York Times dog at its Baghdad bureau, last week.

Tyrrell told Reuters that Hentish attacked a Blackwater K-9 handler who was sweeping the compound for explosives.

The State Dept. made two visits to the bureau to investigate the shooting.

Internet Edition, January 2, 2008, Page 8




Our year-end review Dec. 19 had 40 different items in no particular order and some readers asked that we put our house in order.

The top story of 2007 for us, and as voted by 271 AP editors throughout the U.S., was the massacre of 32 students and staff at Virginia Tech by a student who then committed suicide.

Eight officials, including VT spokesperson Larry Hincker, sat on the news of the initial two murders for 2.5 hours. His boss, VP of development Elizabeth Flanagan, was not even at the meeting.

This delay, a triumph of marketing and other concerns over the right of the campus to know a murderer was on the loose, is figuring heavily in a hurricane of lawsuits that is starting to engulf the school.

One of the main claims of law firm Bode & Greiner, which represents many of the victims’ families, is that VT failed to lock down the campus “in a timely manner”

What was needed at that 8 a.m. meeting was a news-oriented PR person with guts enough to take it upon himself or herself to alert news media immediately, no matter what the other functionaries wanted, and at the cost of his or her job.

This same defining “PR” moment came up at the infamous “fake” press conference of FEMA Oct. 23. PA head John Philbin later said he should have stood up in the middle of the televised “conference” and ordered a halt to it even at the risk of his career.

PR is often a “guts” undertaking and can’t operate solely as a doormat to marketing.

Second in importance is the continuing deaths and assassinations of journalists worldwide. A record 64 died in 2007. The total is 175 counting support staffers. There were 31 deaths of reporters in Iraq in 2007. About 1,000 journalists have died in the past ten years, many of them hunted down and murdered because their reports offended those in power. Almost no attempt is made to catch the murderers.

PR pros, who inundate reporters with press releases, should take note of this carnage of their fellow communicators and create a fund. It’s time for them to show some concern in this area. It might take some of the edge off the resentment that reporters show towards PR. Also, PR pros should think twice before blackballing or shutting out a reporter who offends a client or employer (a form of assassination). Jim Lukaszewski, crisis expert of the PR Society, writing about “online aggression,” says that “not responding is a toxic strategy to the person or party under attack” and that “silence is always toxic to the accused.”

However, we find that silence in the face of criticism is nearly universal. Those who are under criticism feel that replying would only “supply more fuel to the fire” and that it’s just possible the critics may be right.

Third in importance is the short-changing, by their PR professors, of hundreds of thousands of students who are studying PR and communications.

The PR Society, at the behest of the profs, struck down again last year at the Assembly a move to open PRSS (student) membership to any student in the U.S. Students at only 284 of the 4,000 colleges can put on their resumes that they are PRSS members, a key element in job-seeking.

The profs, who again blocked any open discussion or vote on the student proposal, don’t want more competition for PR jobs although a study last year showed only 10-15% of hires for PR jobs are PR or communications majors.

We’re fed up with this selfish stonewalling by the profs and offer free website access, free O’Dwyer’s PR Report subscriptions (USPS requester forms needed) and a copy of the latest O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms to any student group that starts its own PR chapter. We suggest they name it after their schools (PR Society of NYU, Georgetown, etc.), assuming permission can be obtained.

The school names will have far more weight with prospective employers than PRSS. The founders should elect themselves as officers and board members and get their resumes off to a good start. They should also start an awards program and other resume-enhancing activities. They will avoid having to pay the $82 per person fee to PRSS (double the usual rate) that PRSS wants to charge them.

The dirty politics that the professors are playing with students should teach the students something about the often rough-and-tumble, cut-throat nature of the business/academic/association worlds.

Another major issue in PR is the ownership of thousands of PR firms and ad agencies by the four biggest conglomerates—Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic and Publicis.

The four have caused a huge gap in ad/PR statistics by blocking disclosure of fee and employment totals since 2002. Such secretive ways are not good for advertising and especially not good for PR, whose essence is disclosure and interaction with the press and public.

The financial underpinnings of these roll-ups bear watching. Current long-term debt of the four is $12 billion. Even at 4% interest, the cost is $480 million a year. No wonder pennies are pinched at many of their agencies. We are hearing complaints from service firms that it’s hard getting paid by conglomerate firms until invoices are about 90 days old.

Lately the congloms have been reporting “net debt,” subtracting cash-on-hand from debt. U.S. GAAP does not allow this.

Almost laughable are the analysts who supposedly track these stocks. The analysts, all of whose employers are doing business with the Big Four, have almost universally flogged OMC for eight years although the stock has gone nowhere (page seven). Even now only one of the 12 advises “sell” for OMC. There are five “strong buys,” three “buys,” three “holds,” and one “sell.” So much for Wall Street credibility.

--Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471