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Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 1


The Pentagon is reaching out to PR firms for a possible social marketing campaign to prevent sexual assault in the U.S. military.

The Defense Department’s Washington Headquarters Service has issued a “sources sought notice” with the goal of hearing from PR firms capable of tailoring such a campaign to the “unique needs of the armed forces.” That includes reaching military personnel from 18-25 years old, as well as middle-aged service men nationally and on a global scale.

The Pentagon is asking for narratives of firms’ experience, approach and strategy for such a campaign. The responses will be used for a potential future formal solicitation, like an RFP. Contract specialist Stephen Crooks ([email protected]) is accepting narratives through March 19.


Lou Hammond & Associates has been tapped by New York State’s Empire State Development to guide PR for the re-launch of its famed “I Love New York” campaign.

Hammond takes on agency of record duties after a competitive review with four other firms. Sweeney Vesty previously handled PR for the ESD.

Thomas Ranese, chief marketing officer for ESD, said a number of firms were interviewed, but he liked Hammond’s “experience, capability and understanding” of the work, which includes the “revitalization” of the ILNY statewide brand message.

Hammond has been based in New York for 23 years. The “I Love New York” campaign began in 1977.


Edelman has a $250K contract to promote the British Council’s “Transatlantic Network 2020,” a program to reinvigorate ties between North America, U.K. and Continental Europe.

The goal is to build on common history and stimulate grassroots efforts to tackle issues such as climate change, immigration and security.

TN2020 wants to analyze the different perceptions of the transatlantic relationship based on U.S. vs. Europe dividing lines and identify rising leaders aged 20-to-35 who will affect society for years to come.

TN2020 will engage in outreach to governments, businesses, media, academia, think tanks and NGOs.

Edelman’s work runs through October. The TN2020 kick-off conference is slated for Ireland in September. The `09 session is planned for here.


Burson-Marsteller spent last week making sure the media knew that financier George Fox had nothing to do with the sex scandal that forced the resignation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

The disgraced politico used Fox’s name to register at the Mayfair Hotel at which Spitzer met with a high-priced prostitute.

Fox, a longtime friend and political supporter of Spitzer, only found out that his name was used as an alias when news of the dalliance broke on March 10.

The B-M statement makes clear that there is “absolutely no connection between Mr. Fox and the governor’s alleged activity beyond the unauthorized use of his name.”

Fox is “distressed by the news that has emerged” and is “disappointed that his name was used.”

Spitzer has personally apologized to Fox for dragging his name into the mess.


Doug Bell, who was general manager of Fleishman-Hillard’s Cleveland office, has joined Anne St. Peter, former head of F-H/Kansas City, at Global Prairie Partners.

Bell worked at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, prior to shifting to the PR-side at the Omnicom unit.

Rick Thaemer, senior VP and co-chair of F-H’s animal health and ag division, has moved to GPP.

Dave Senay, CEO of F-H, addressed the exec exodus via an e-mail to staffers. He is “personally disappointed in the actions of Anne and Doug.”

Senay understands that people leave agencies every day, but “when individuals in leadership positions plan their exit in a way that potentially harms our firm, that does not fit my personal code of conduct.”


Word-of-mouth marketing is raked over the coals in a short story by U.K. novelist Hari Kunzru in the March 10 New Yorker titled “Raj, Bohemian.”

A young man gets so addled by friends pitching him products and even getting him to sample a vodka in a private party that later shows up in a videotape on a website, that he thinks of murdering the person who made the videotape. This person is “Raj” in the story, who is described as a “hustler.”

There was no immediate comment from either Ed Keller, president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Assn., or WOMMA, which is based in Chicago. Keller heads The Keller Fay Group, New Brunswick, N.J.

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 2


A $500K “emergency” no-bid contract awarded to Porter Novelli has been suspended by the state of California after the Associated Press and state officials questioned the pact.

PN was awarded the $500K contract after being asked to submit a proposal last November after hundreds of residents complained about health effects following spraying to control an invasive moth, according to the AP. The AP said it obtained emails through a Public Records Act request that revealed a senior state contracting official questioning the no-bid pact with the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office asked the DFA to review the contract last week (after the AP inquired about it) because of questions about its size and effectiveness.

PN had already collected $66K and another $30K could still be owed for services rendered.

The AP noted that Randle Communications, the PR firm of Schwarzenegger contributor and advisor Jeff Randle, was promised a share of the moth spraying PR work. After losing out to PN to handle the full contract, it was tapped as a subcontractor. Donna Lucas, a former Schwarzenegger PR advisor who left for PN in 2006, also asked to submit a proposal but was not involved in the campaign.

A spokeswoman for the DFA defended the no-bid solicitation, saying: “It’s all word-of-mouth when you’re in PR. You know who the good other people are. That’s how it works. ... People probably think there’s some political thing here, but there’s really not.”

PN’s GM for Sacramento, William Schreiber, told the AP that the firm had done similar work on the moth in New Zealand and declined to comment on the state’s awarding the contract to his firm.


Fleishman-Hillard and Sitrick & Co. are handling a messy fight waged against pharmaceutical company Biovail Corp. by its founder.

Eugene Melnyk announced March 13 that he intends to nominate a dissident slate of directors at the June 25 meeting. He contends that Biovail lacks a strategic plan to improve both financial performance and shareholder value.

Douglas Squires, Biovail CEO, says many of Biovail’s woes stem from the time under Melnyk’s watch. He says Biovail is poised to “implement meaningful changes to the business—changes that would facilitate a new growth trajectory.”

Melnyk, who controls a 12 percent Biovail stake, stepped down in `07.


Paul Kelash, who headed PR for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for the past five-plus years, has joined Weber Shandwick’s Minneapolis office.

He becomes Twin Cities coordinator of the Interpublic unit’s North American Financial Services industry practice group that has staffers in 20 offices.

Kelash also will be North American liaison to WS’ London-based financial group.


David Walke, who co-founded the IR and corporate communications firm Morgen-Walke and helped build it into a $20M firm, has taken a senior advisory role at The BlueShirt Group.

San Francisco-based TBG has been mostly focused on technology since its inception and is run by a group of M-W alumni. The firm is looking to diversify its client base and recently set up a New York outpost, where Walke is based.

M-W was sold in January 2000 to Lighthouse Group and merged with Financial Dynamics, now FD.

Blueshirt was formed by three M-W execs – Erica Abrams, Chris Danne, and Alex Wellins – in 1999, just before M-W was sold.

“We’ve always maintained a friendship and business relationship and when it became clear to us that he was serious about returning to the IR field, we were very anxious to structure something with him for our New York growth initiative,” Wellins told O’Dwyer’s. “His depth of experience and network base is particularly strong in New York.”

“I kept in touch with them on a periodic basis,” Walke said in an interview. “We were competitors, but we were friendly competitors. Morgan-Walke was very diversified, while Blueshirt was focused on the tech space.”

After M-W was sold, Walke moved on to head research firm Find/SVP, now known as Guideline, which was later privatized and sold under Walke’s leadership. After that, Walke said he sat down with Danne in New York before that deal was closed and it became apparent that he could help Blueshirt in a number of areas.

Walke serves as a senior management advisor with Blueshirt. In addition, he is also working on “productization” for the firm, which he described as developing scalable IR products beyond common counseling fee-based IR.

Blueshirt opened in New York last fall under the direction of Jonathan Schaffer and Walke also plays a role in building up that operation. The office has aligned with New York-based The Consumer Group.


The New Jersey Travel Industry Assn. has hired Beckerman PR to promote the Garden State’s $37B travel sector.

Michael LaCosta, a travel PR veteran with more than 15 years of experience, will lead the account.

He is a veteran of M Silver Assocs. and Lou Hammond & Assocs.

LaCosta has done PR for clients such as Atlantic Canada, Mystic Marriott, Bermuda Dept. of Tourism and Hilton Hartford.

LaCosta, who would not disclose NJTIA’s PR budget, also held posts at Cendant Corp, and its hotel brands (Super 8, AmeriHost Inn, Villager and Wingate Inns).

BPR, which is based in Bedminster, will kick off its work by promoting the 2008 New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Tourism that is slated at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City on April 9-11.

Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 3


Time Warner’s AOL is acquiring, the No. 3 social networking site, in a deal worth $850M. Bebo has 22M unique visitors, trailing marketing leader MySpace’s 109M, according to comScore. Facebook is the No. 2 site.

Randy Falco, CEO of AOL, called Bebo a “perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network.”

The deal enables AOL to “offer advertisers even greater reach and marketers significant insights into the desires and needs of consumers,” according to his statement.

Bebo users spend an average 33 minutes a day on the networking site.

Under the deal, Bebo president Joanna Shields will report to AOL COO Ron Grant. The social networking company had drawn interests from suitors such as CBS Corp.

TW CEO Jeff Bewkes told investors last month that he is willing to listen to offers for AOL or explore “any strategic moves that make sense.”


Editor & Publisher reports that the combined circulation at the 20 biggest newspapers dropped 1.4M during the past four years.

The San Francisco Chronicle showed the largest percent decline 28.8 percent to 365,234 readers. It was followed by the Los Angeles Times (down 20.2 percent to 794,705), Boston Globe (19.9 percent to 360,695) and Atlanta Journal-Constitution (-16.8 percent to 318,350).

The New York Post (+2.3 percent to 667,119) and No. 1 USA Today (+2.1 percent to 2,293,137) bucked the downward trend.

In rounding out the Big Five papers, E&P reports the Wall Street Journal was down 3.8 percent to 2,011,882; New York Times suffered a 7.2 percent decline to 1,037,828 and New York Daily News dipped 6.5 percent to 681,415.


Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is launching two satellite TV networks in the Middle East in conjunction with Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal's media company, Rotana.

The 24-hour movie channel, called Fox Movies, debuts in May, according to a report in Variety. A companion station will launch in November.

The venture is to be based in Dubai though FM will use Rotana's broadcast facilities in Cairo.

The deal was negotiated by James Murdoch, who heads NC's Europe and Asia operation. It marks NC initial foray into the Middle East.

Prince Waleed is an investor in NC, owning a five percent stake.

Variety calls Rotana "one of the dominant media forces in the Mideast." It owns seven TV channels the region's leading music label and a film production company.

NC and Rotana are to share ad revenues from the new venture.


Joanne Bradford, who was chief media officer at Microsoft’s MSN unit for the past seven years, has left the firm for Spot Runner Inc.

The Wall Street Journal depicts Bradford’s departure a big blow to Microsoft. Her job was to try to “inject advertising industry expertise into the company’s software culture.”

MSN’s failure to made headway against Google has led to Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo.

At SRI, Bradford is executive VP-national marketing services.


The Society of Professional Journalists has “expressed deep concern” after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban banned bloggers from the team’s locker room last week.

Cuban, a blogger and media entrepreneur, said he instituted the ban on writers whose primary purpose is blogging because of space concerns. But SPJ noted that the move affects only one news blogger, Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News, who recently published a critical piece about Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.

“This appears to be nothing more than a power play by one team to control media coverage,” said SPJ president Clint Brewer, who added that it’s the fans that ultimately lose from decisions like the Mavericks’ blogger ban.

Brewer sent his concerns in a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern and urged an investigation of locker room access for media bloggers. Brewer offered SPJ’s help in developing a compromise.


Ken Stern, 44, has stepped down as president of National Public Radio after a dispute with board members over the direction of the network. He left the post “by mutual agreement.”

Stern ruffled some board member feathers with the radio network’s aggressive push into the new media category. He joined NPR in `99 as executive VP and assumed the CEO post in `06.

The Washington Post credited Stern and former CEO Kevin Klose for guiding NPR to the “most successful decade of its existence.”

Audiences for programs such as “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” doubled to the 26M mark. Revenues rose from $65M to $200M.

Stern is replaced on an interim basis by Dennis Haarsager, chairman.


Jennifer Linn, who was VP-marketing at Ann Taylor Corp., is now senior VP-brand marketing for Viacom’s Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group.

She will maximize return on Nickelodeon properties like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Naked Brothers Band, iCarly and original movies. Linn also will work closely with the PA team on social and multicultural initiatives.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 4


It’s time for CEOs to return to the bully pulpit, according to George Anders writing in the Wall Street Journal on March 12.

Anders bemoans that many "strong-willed chairmen and CEOs fear saying anything controversial in public."

Instead of telling it like it is, today’s CEOs fill speeches with feeble clichés.

Anders wants corporate leaders to bring "more of their backstage feistiness into public view" and get rid of the layers of advisors that encourage them to be "risk-adverse."

Timid CEOs are toast with the rise of blogs and YouTube videos that provide a platform for any "gabber with a funny story or provocative point of view to gain worldwide attention within days or hours."

Wrote Anders: "If bosses can’t define the agenda with words that delight and startle, someone else will."

The WSJ columnist tips his cap to legendary leaders who had a knack for blunt talk.

That includes Citicorp's Walt Wriston and American Airlines' Bob Crandall.

Accolades also go to current chieftains such as Berkshire-Hathaway's Warren Buffett, Microsoft's Bill Gates, Disney’s Bob Iger and Apple’s Steve Jobs.

Anders believes Jobs' trashing of wireless carriers led Apple to cut a sweet deal with AT&T to provide service for the iPhone.

Steve Lipin, a Wall Street Journal alumnus now Brunswick senior partner, told Anders that "offense is the new defense" for CEOs.


Lee Abrams, who was senior VP and chief creative officer at XM Satellite Radio, is now chief innovation officer at Sam Zell’s Tribune Co.

He assumes that post on April 1 and is eager to “design the future of American media with passion, intellect, and imagination that meets the spirit of the 21st century,” according to a statement.

Abrams, 55, has consulted for Coca-Cola, Swatch and MTV.


Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is handling the Chapter 11 filing of Ziff Davis Media.

The publisher of PC Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly and trade show organizer is seeking to drop $225 million in debt via the filing.

ZDM CEO Jason Young, who succeeded Robert Callahan in August, said the debt burden was connected to an `01 leveraged buyout of the company by Willis Stein & Partners.

While the print segment remains “challenging,” Young sees growth opportunities driven by digital revenue expansion.

ZDM says it reaches more than 26M consumers a-month through its magazines, websites and events.

Andy Brimmer is handling the bankruptcy filing.


The U.S. has fallen two places to become the seventh most competitive country in the travel and tourism sector, according to a report by the World Economic Forum and Booz Allen Hamilton.

The U.S. now trails Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Australia, Spain and the U.K. The travel and tourism sector has become more competitive as countries improve transportation infrastructure and environmental safeguards, according to the study.

Sweden, Canada and France trail the U.S. and round out the top 10.

The rankings are based on 60 factors - statutory regulations, health/safety, price levels, and infrastructure, to name a few - that measure a country's appeal in cultivating tourism.

The U.S. scores well in infrastructure and natural resources, but lags in perceptions of safety and environmentalism, the report noted.

It is No. 1 for overall business environment and No. 2 for natural resource attractions, but placed 105th out of 130 countries for price competitiveness and 100th for environmental sustainability.

Justin Zubriod, VP at Booz Allen, said the low environmental mark is a result of "relatively weak regulatory measures to combat global warming," as well as inefficient energy consumption and high levels of urban pollution.

"To attract more tourists in the long term, the U.S. might consider adopting environmental policies that not only preserve natural assets but also change global perceptions about our leadership in environmentalism," he said. The U.S. also scored dismally on its openness of citizens toward foreign visitors, ranking 114th.

Travel and tourism contribute 3.8 percent of the U.S.' GDP.

China, which is hosting the Olympics this year, inched up to No. 62 from 71 last year, while South Africa, which is preparing to host the World Cup in 2010, rose to 60th from 62 in '07.

People _____________________________

Jack Bogoch has been promoted to editor of Skiing magazine. He had been senior editor and has written for ski magazines for a decade. Skiing, which is published six times a year by Bonnier, is also revamping its look with a larger paper size and photo-driven design slated to take effect with the Sept. ’08 issue.

Brief _______________________________

A group of Asian American publishers has set up a trade group to increase advertising share and develop the Asian American market in representing both English and Asian- language publications.

The National Association of Asian Publishers has begun reaching out to more than 400 Asian publishers, both print and online, in the U.S. Publications involved at the group’s outset include Asian Fortune, AsianWeek, Filipinas Magazine, U.S. Asian Wire and the Seattle Chinese Post.

Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 5


Edelman’s Los Angeles office handled the launch of, an online video service backed by more than 50 networks and entertainment companies like News Corp., Sony Pictures and NBC Universal on March 12.

News Corp. and NBC are the main supporters of the venture.

Edelman also works with News Corp.’s MySpace social networking unit., which has been in “beta” mode since last fall, streams advertising-supported video content — including hundreds of TV shows, movies and sports programs — on and across major portals like AOL and MySpace.

Videos can also be embedded into websites or shared by users. Best Buy and Nissan are among advertisers for the site’s content. did not return an inquiry about its PR plans.


Despite economic uncertainties, most U.S. PR firms feel they are headed for another record year, according to a survey by StevensGouldPincus, merger/management consultants in communications.

Saying that client budgets are holding steady were 129 (83%) of the 156 PR firms responding to the survey.

Three-quarters of the respondents expect their revenues to increase in 2008 and 70% said the current economic volatility is having no effect on their bottom lines.

Firms with net fees of $25 million or more said without exception that budgets are steady.

Predicting increased revenues were 88% of these firms. The larger the agency, the more confident it is of the future, the survey found.

The survey is part of an ongoing series that examines trends and patterns in the PR counseling industry.

California PR firms are slightly less certain about the effects of the current uneasy economy while Midwest and Southwest firms are more confident of the future.

About three-quarters of the firms in the survey have annual fees of $3 million or less.


Fleishman-Hillard’s digital group has unveiled, which bills itself as the first business association blog.

Pat Cleary, who joined F-H from the National Assn. of Manufacturers, heads the blog that aims to grow the voice of business in the blogosphere.

The goal is to advocate the position that free markets unfettered by burdensome regulation create the employment that powers the country’s economy.

Charter members of BizCentral include American Petroleum Institute, American Trucking Assns., Business Roundtable, CTIA—TheWireless Assn., National Assn. of Chain Drug Stores, National Electrical Manufacturers Assn., and Nuclear Energy Institute.

Cleary is senior VP-digital PA at F-H and former staffer at the Dept. of Labor and National Mediation Board.


New York Area

Dan Klores Communications, New York/Cointreau, French liquor brand, for PR on a project basis, and Plum TV, media network for affluent communities, as AOR for PR. DKC has worked with Plum TV in the past.

Rubenstein Investor Relations, New York/Bergamo Acquisitions Corp., branded and unbranded merchandise for wholesale and retail, and Mico Gold Corp., mining company operating in China, for IR.

Investor Relations Group, New York/Mymetics Corp., biotechnology, for IR and financial comms.

Tsunami Group, New York/Michigan Instruments, medical equipment maker, for product PR and media relations.

MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J./Rentacrate, reusable crate and moving equipment rental company, to develop and implement an integrated comms. plan, including PR, governmental relations and web development.

R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J./Lutronic USA, medical lasers for cosmetic purposes, as AOR for PR.


Tier One Partners, Boston/Bleacher Report, community publishing platform for sports fans; Globoforce, recognition solutions; Molecular, interactive agency; Mozes, mobile marketing, and PhoneFusion, business communications management, for PR and marketing.


Empower PR, Chicago/Lifeway Foods, dairy-based consumer products, for launch of Kefir, a cultured drink the company says can decrease cholesterol in the blood and improve immunity.

Strat@comm, Detroit/Michigan Alumni Assn., for a brand awareness campaign alongside parent firm Fleishman-Hillard; MENC: The National Assn. of Music Education, for branding, media and event support via Strat@comm’s D.C. office, and the American Academy of Wound Management, for strategic counsel, website development, video services and materials development to support a national outreach effort.

Shazaaam!, Southfield, Mich./Myron Zucker, as AOR for PR for the electric systems services manufacturer.


WeissComm Partners, San Francisco/The Medicines Company; Ardea Biosciences; Cyclacel; Lev Pharmaceuticals; Neurobiological Technologies; PEAK Surgical, Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, VIA Pharmaceuticals; Spinemark, and Anesiva, for product comms. for its analgesic drug Adlea.

Full Court Press Communications, Oakland, Calif./
Ellis Partners, developer, for media relations and communications planning for the $350M renovation of Jack London Square, a city shopping district.

Bolt PR, San Diego/Above All Advertising, inflatables and business signage services; Cool Bandanas, personal cooling systems; Girls Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, and Loafin Joe’s, two-location sub shop, for media and community relations.

The McRae Agency, San Diego/Bilbro Construction, general contracting firm, as AOR for PR.

Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 6


The Council of PR Firms and PR Society’s Counselors Academy have re-lanuched PR Quickstart, a free web-based training program for professionals new to the PR industry.

The update on the seven-year-old program focuses on three courses – What is Public Relations?; The Agency Life, and Media Relations.

The two PR organizations cite Dept. of Labor data that shows PR growing faster than average for occupations through 2014 in outlining the need for such programs.

Users can read case histories, news articles, video and links to industry resources.



Vocus was awarded a $66,875 contract to provide PR software services to Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA’s Office of Research and Development Recruitment and Support staffers have used the software in the past.

The sole-source contract notes that Vocus has no resellers and does not authorize other companies to host or support its software, or provide training. Therefore the new pact, which runs through February 2009, was awarded without bids.


Most public service announcements air during “normal waking hours” and are not predominantly shown during lower-rated overnight slots, according to a study by broadcast PR company WestGlen Communications.

New York-based WestGlen tracked 140 radio and television PSAs aired in 2007 for its research.

Of 72 television PSAs, which aired more than 250K times, the company found 36 percent of that the PSA airings took place from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a bulk of those hits – 24 percent – occurring between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thirty-three percent of the TV PSAs aired from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Fifty-four percent of the 68 radio PSAs tracked by WestGlen aired during or between the coveted morning (6 a.m.-10 a.m.) and evening (3 p.m.-7 p.m.) drive times. A small percentage, 34%, aired during the overnight hours between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The radio PSAs tracked by WestGlen aired more than 750K times in 2007.

Annette Minkalis, senior VP of PSA services at WestGlen, said the research proves that PSAs play in all day parts and are not just “relegated to the graveyard of ad space.”

GoGo Images, Seattle, has launched as the first specialty agency for multicultural stock imagery. The company has images depicting accomplishments of Latin, Asian, Indian, black, Middle Eastern and LGBT demographics for use in marketing and publishing.

CO Joe Barrett notes that 65% of the world’s GDP is produced by people who are seen in five percent of the world’s commerical stock images.



John Hall, a consultant director for WPP in London and New York, to Travelport Limited, New York, as chief marketing officer. He has held posts with Dow Jones and the Financial Times Group.

Mark Bettger has joined Gregory FCA, Philadelphia, as market development specialist to focus on building practice areas for the firm. He was previously with magazine publisher CurtoCo Robb Media. His initial focus is professional services and the firm’s recently announced green division.

Christine Mohr, formerly of Communications Marketing Group and YMCA of Fairfax County, Va., to Environics Communications, Washington, D.C., as an A/S.

Alan Moran, VP of college relations, Oberlin College, to Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, as VP of marketing and communications. He was previously an executive editor for the Phoenix Gazette/Arizona Republic.

Ebony Dooley, Beckie Thompson and Emily Drake to A/Ss, and Neil DeVries to AA/E at John Bailey and Associates, Troy, Mich.

Sarah Evans, manager of comms. and government relations, Advocate Health Care, to Arment Dietrich, Chicago, as a senior A/E. Liz Pope has joined the firm’s Denver office as an A/C after stints at Schenkein PR, JKD & Co. and Cutter Comms.

Stacie Byars, director of corporate comms. at Targeted Genetics, to WeissComm Partners, San Francisco, as a senior associate. Also, Tim Friend, former medical reporter for USA Today; Shari Germershausen, previously with Manning Selvage & Lee; Julie Johnson of Porter Novelli Life Sciences; Anna McCollister-Slipp of Manning Selvage & Lee, and Lori Rosen of Porter Novelli all joins as senior associates. The firm also has offices in New York and Chicago.

Brenda Christensen, a 20-year corporate and agency veteran in the tech space, to The David James Agency, Thousand Oaks, Calif., as a senior A/S.


Beth Opacity to senior A/E, The Marcus Group, Little Falls, N.J. She joined in 2006 and handles government relations and PR clients.

Matt Landry to VP, Matter Communications, Newburyport, Mass. He was the firm’s first staff-level hire in 2003. Matter has also added Mullen and Beaupre veteran Charna Cummings as a senior A/E.

Theresa Rice to director of Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. Hispanic unit, based in Miami. She started with B-M in 2003.

Brigitte Lyons to senior A/E, Arment Dietrich, Chicago. Angela Loiacono to AA/E.

Cheryl Georgas to senior A/S, JSH&A PR, Oakbrook, Terrace, Ill.

Scott Werner to managing partner, Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing, Birmingham, Mich. He takes over for Maria Marcotte, who continues as partner and chief operating officer. Werner started as an unpaid intern at the firm 16 years ago. Marcie Brogan is CEO.

Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 7

SHORT STORY HITS PR (Continued from 1)

While the main character thinks the behavior of Raj, who was revealed as being paid to take the videotape, is “sleazy and underhanded,” he finds that “none of my friends seemed to see anything wrong.”

“I need information,” says one, calling the protagonist “so old-fashioned, like some kind of Communist.”

Says this character: “I have the right to perform acts of rational consumer choice; our ancestors fought wars for it. And I think I’m clever enough to filter a little bit of spin, don’t you?”

Says the main character: “Over the next few days, I started to notice something odd. Every time I met a friend, he or she would immediately make a recommendation, urge me to try something new … Janine almost forced me to take home a bottle of her ‘new favorite nutritional supplement’ … all my friends seemed to be dropping snippets of advertising copy into their conversations, short messages from their sponsors. They were constantly stating preferences for particular brands, dishing out free samples.”

After one friend pitches a copper wrist band set with tiny stones (“it helps correct biochemical imbalances in the body”), the story teller says, “Oh, no … not you, too,” and slaps her in the face.

The recipient of the slap then explains that it’s hard to “keep track of her placements” and that, “If a girl doesn’t want a straight job, she has to monetize her social network.”

Something 'Snaps' in Story Teller

The bombardment of commercial messages causes the story teller to snap. “Something in me had snapped, was broken beyond repair,” he says.

He puts out much of his belongings on the curb and watches people take them away.

He buys a large knife, “gleaming with surgical allure,” and sets out to visit Raj with the intention of using it on him.

The story is available in the New Yorker’s online edition.


Some PR Society veteran members, including some past presidents and current board members, are griping about the number and size of receptions that CEO Rhoda Weiss held in her hotel suite at the national conference in Philadelphia Oct. 20-23.

A large poster of Weiss greeted guests as they entered the suite. This picture is currently being e-mailed around to leaders and rank-and-file members by those who wonder if too much money was spent on the receptions.

There was no liquor at the receptions but some members brought in their own drinks, sources said.

In addition to the poster of Weiss, a two-sided release about her was distributed. On one side was a list of 60 accomplishments of PRS during her term as CEO and on the other side was a 562-word resume recapping her career, organizational activity and some of her “more than 300 communications honors.”

Refused to be ‘Roasted’

Especially annoyed are many of the 23 living past presidents. They said that current PRS leadership decided to spend the budget for the past presidents’ dinner on “finger food” rather than dinner. The past presidents then organized their own dinner.

Weiss, instead of attending this dinner and going through the traditional “roasting” of the president, spent most of the night at the dinners of more than a dozen sections, arriving only at the end of the past-presidents’ dinner. She had informed the past presidents that she would not submit to a “roasting,” some of the past presidents said.

Weiss, who was accompanied by 2008 chair-elect Jeff Julin, left the dinner after giving a brief speech.

There has been “bad blood” between h.q. staff, leaders and the past presidents for several years.

One indication is that the list of past presidents was left out of the 1,000-page One Source directory in 2004 for the first time in the history of the directory, which also contained the list of members. Past presidents said this could not have been a mere mistake since each new edition starts with the template of the previous edition.

Past presidents also complained it was a long time before their pictures were put up at the new h.q. at 33 Maiden lane.

Julin Differs from Weiss

Whereas Weiss made herself available throughout 2007 for comment on any controversies, via a listing in the “Advocacy” part of the PRS website, there is no such presence by Julin.

Instead, a national advocacy advisory board of 16 members from across the nation has been appointed by Julin. There has been no visible input from this group thus far. The last posting under “Advocacy—The News,” on the PRS website, is dated April 19, 2007 and concerned the Don Imus controversy. Weiss advised him to apologize to the Rutgers Women’s basketball team for a remark he made about the team.

Under “Advocacy—Research,” the last entry is on Feb. 20, 2007, describing research which said that top management believes PR helps corporate reputations.

The last “Advocacy Position Statement” was put on the site in January 2006 and commented on stories that a writer charged that HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy paid her to write and place favorable articles.

Editors at the Denver Post and Denver Business Journal said this week they have no current plans for further coverage of the election of Julin as national chair of PRS or the Society’s 60th anniversary. Brief mentions have been made in the two papers thus far.



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Internet Edition, March 19, 2008, Page 8




The New Yorker short story, "Raj, Bohemian" (page one) is not only a commentary on word-of-mouth marketing but on the values and behavioral patterns of what appear to be 20 and 30-year-olds.

The protagonist, whose name is not given, has the worst possible things to say about friends who pitch products for pay ("monetize" their "social networks" as one character says).

Such people are "shallow," betrayers of "trust," "hustlers," violators of "privacy," and purveyors of "zombie-speech."

He's shocked that none of his friends feel as he does. All they seem to care about is consuming one product or another.

Not only is their ethical sense lacking, but so are their morals. The protagonist as well as his friends accept casual sex as the norm. They might be a little more hesitant about this if they read the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control that found 26% of U.S. girls aged 14-19 have one sexual disease or another and this rises to 48% among black teenaged girls. More than 60% of U.S. women college grads leave with a lifelong case of HPV, according to other studies.

Author of "Raj, Bohemiam," is Hari Kunzru, an established British novelist and journalist.

What he has written is fiction, and employs exaggeration to make its points, but it may have a better grasp on reality than pure journalism where attaching behaviors to real names can lead to a lawsuit.

Our advice to PR and J-majors would be to chuck all their textbooks and read the New Yorker each week instead. Besides good fiction and in-depth journalism, it has business articles and commentary that no other publication would attempt.

Switching back to "business reality," we note that the ethics code of the Word of Mouth Marketing Assn. states that only samples of products and never money can be used to reward those who pitch products and services to their friends.

Those employed by such companies as Procter & Gamble, Dell and numerous PR firms agree always to identify themselves as representatives of these companies when handing out samples or recommending products.

For those interested in word of mouth marketing, WOMMA has created the "Word of Mouth Marketing University" which will hold its first "Higher Learning Conference" May 8-9 in Miami. Cost is $995 for members and $1,495 for non-members.

WOMMA says it had "an extremely difficult time deciding between all of the amazing, highly qualified candidates" who wanted to be on the faculty.

These include Erin Byrne of Burson-Marsteller; Liana Frey, Dell; Brian Reich, Echo Ditto; Bonin Bough of Weber Shandwick Web Relations; Virginia Miracle of Ogilvy PR Worldwide; Geoff Nelson, Buzz Corps; Kate Niederhoffer of Nielson Online, and Lynn Eastep of Fleishman-Hillard. Topics include building a blog program; managing reputation at the speed of social media; activating WOM in social networks for beginners and those who are advanced; "Going for Big, Fast Buzz Now," and "Communities: Build, Buy or Rent?" Return on investment will also be discussed.

The flap over the receptions thrown by 2007 PRS chair Rhoda Weiss (page 7) is indicative of many things.

Former PRS presidents, current leaders and rank-and-file members are justified in saying that it looks like Weiss was more interested in promoting herself than the Society during her term of office in 2007.

We realize that PR people have to work hard at self-promotion or their careers are apt to go nowhere.

However, when they assume positions of leadership in any of the PR groups, personal promotion must stop.

The past presidents of the Society, who were given the cold shoulder by the current leadership, have every right to beef.

None of the past presidents-so far-wants to do so openly because punishments galore await anyone who speaks up.

These include not only becoming a pariah with the h.q. staff, but eliminating in the future any of the "hundreds" of new business leads that pour into h.q. all year long (as stated by the Counselors Academy of PRS); eliminating appointment to the more than 30 national standing committees, boards and task forces (which titles look good on a resume), and eliminating any chance of board, district or section nominations.

If the critic is already a leader of some committee, budgets can suddenly dry up. Critics also face ostracism at the local level. It's no wonder that no one will publicly oppose the APR Southerners and Westerners who control PRS.

The "Committee of 50" headed by Blake Lewis that obtained passage of a 2007 Assembly resolution calling for "openness, complete transparency," has been silent so far in 2008.

The disciplinary power of h.q. was evident in 2006 when not one of the other 109 chapters supported the Central Michigan proposal to give more power to the Assembly.

StevenGouldPincus, consultant and merger specialist in PR, found via a survey that four out of five U.S. PR firms are predicting steady business in 2008 in spite of all the clouds on the economic horizon including the housing debacle and the weak dollar.

Sources say that the weak currency is attracting European venture capitalists to the U.S. in record numbers and that PR firms and ad agencies are prime targets.

Dorland PR, Philadelphia, which had fees of $11 million in 2006, was acquired last year by Huntsworth, the U.K. conglomerate headed by Peter Gummer.

The U.S. dollar is only half-price to the British, whose pound is worth $2. Also shooting up in value recently is the euro, now worth $1.54 when it used to be around 85 cents.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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