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Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 1


Toyota has hired Democratic powerhouse firm Glover Park Group to deal with its image mess that was triggered by the recall of 8M of its cars.

Southern California Toyota dealers, meanwhile, have hired Sitrick and Company.

GPG is the firm of Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's former speechwriter, and Carter Eskew, chief strategist to Al Gore's Presidential run.

The GPG hiring comes as Members of Congress promise lengthy probes into the Japanese automaker's safety record.

Toyota management reportedly frets that the company may face a U.S. backlash as “payback” for the woes of Detroit’s Big Three carmakers.

Toyota has already reached out to Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, a WPP unit, for crisis work. The Associated Press also reported that the company also hired Quinn Gillespie & Associates in D.C. It may take another stinging blow to its reputation with the recall of its environmentally acclaimed Prius hybrid models.

Sitrick told Automotive News that Toyota’s “true and accurate story has not gotten out there.”


Sard Verbinnen & Co. has been hired by heavyweight law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to counsel communications for the legal defense of former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis.

Lewis, who stepped down from BoA in late 2009, and former CFO Joe Price, who is still with the company, have been charged with fraud by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for actions in the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch during the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

Bank of America has agreed to pay a $150M settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its payment of bonuses to ex-Merrill Lynch employees.

Briana Kelly, an associate at SV&C, confirmed to O'Dwyer's that the firm was retained by Debevoise to help with Lewis’ defense. Principal Paul Scarpetta is leading that effort.

Mary Joe White, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who is now at Debevoise, is leading Lewis' legal defense.

“The decision by Mr. Cuomo to sue Bank of America, Mr. Lewis and other executives in connection with BofA’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch is a badly misguided decision without support in the facts or the law," White said in a statement.

OMC PR SLID 8.5% in Q4

Omnicom’s profit fell 15.3 percent to $229.6M in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with Q4 of '08 as global revenue slipped 3.1% to $3.3 billion.

PR revenue among its units like Ketchum and Fleishman-Hillard was down 8.5% for Q4 to $277.3M and down 14.8% for the full-year 2009 to $1.1B.

“As economies improve, we believe the worst of the recession and its impact is behind us,” CEO John Wren said in a conference call this morning, adding the company anticipates many clients will “at least modestly” increase spending in the second half of 2010.

“Results in the quarter improved when compared with the previous three quarters, but still reflect the reductions in annual advertising and marketing spending initiated by clients in the first and second quarters of last year,” he said.

For the year, revenue fell 12.3% to $11.7B. In the U.S., revenue fell 10.3% to $6.2B while global revenue dropped 14.3% in the tough environment to $5.5B.

OMC's debt fell to $2.3 billion in 2009 from more than $3 billion in ’08. It acquired Dubai-based Impact BBDO with 13 offices in the fourth quarter after an association with its BBDO unit since 1979.

Earn-out payments totaled $158M in 2009.


MaryEllen O’Donohue, a nearly 25-year veteran of MS&L Worldwide, is the latest to join Cohn & Wolfe as CEO Donna Imperato fortifies the executive ranks of the WPP unit. She joins as senior executive VP/strategy and client services.

O’Donohue has crafted campaigns for Pfizer, Bayer, Lilly Roche, AT&T, NCR and Lexis/Nexis.

C&W recently added Kazumi Mechling from Waggener Edstrom for the president & market leader slot at its Los Angeles office, Edelman’s Mike Kan as global healthcare chief and MS&L’s Wendy Lund for the helm of GCI Health.


The National Association of Not Availables, the name this newsletter gives to the PR Society, has set March 1 as the deadline for "Super Saver" registrations for its annual conference Oct. 16-19 at the Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.

Registrations received after that date will jump $250 from $1,025 to $1,275. Non-members will pay $1,575.

The Assn. had a $975 advance rate for the 2009 conference that was good until Sept. 25, 2009.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 2


Ketchum/U.S. received $3.5M in fees/expenses for work for Russia and its Gazprom energy operation during the six-month period ended Nov. 30, according to fresh federal records.

Much of the Russia activity focused on the first anniversary of its war with Georgia (Ketchum reached out to Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Nixon Center), President Dimitri Medvedev’s trip to the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, and outreach to the business community (Business Roundtable, U.S. Council for Int’l Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Carlyle Group).

Ketchum also handled the visit of Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and consul general Vladimir Vinokurov to Fort Ross, Calif., Russia's easternmost settlement in the 1800s which is in dire need of preservation funding.

Gazprom work included updates on a gas payment squabble with Ukraine and contacts made to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sens. John Cornyn/Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Houston Mayor Bill White regarding a Gazprom event in the Lone Star State.

Ketchum got a $1.8M payment for Russia from its British unit. The remaining $1.7M payment was received from Diversified Energy Communications, U.K. affiliate.


The Thomas Collective, a New York-based consumer PR firm, has picked up Wines of Chile USA's PR account after an RFP process.

RF|Binder Partners handled the account since 2005.

Six-year-old TTC, which has extensive experience with liquor brands like Glenlivet and Jameson, is charged with managing PR for the group's 81 member wineries and supporting its wine tourism efforts for the United States.

That includes press trips, virtual blogger tastings, and culinary education among other PR counsel and media relations activities.

Chilean wines have grown from U.S. obscurity in the early 1990s to become widely consumed in this country. Exports to the U.S., Chile's No. 2 wine market behind the U.K., surpassed $188M in 2009.


The former PR chief for embattled insurance giant AIG will hit the PR lecture circuit this month to discuss crisis communications at a Milwaukee event.

Nicholas Ashooh, who left AIG at the end of 2009 for the VP-corporate affairs slot at Alcoa, is an alumni of Marquette University. He is slated to lead a program at the school’s Alumni Memorial Union on Feb. 23 called “Crisis Communication: Navigating AIG Through the Storm.”

He earned a B.A. in journalism from Marquette in 1976 and held PR posts at American Electric Power, Niagara Mohawk, and Public Service of New Hampshire before moving to AIG in 2006.

Milwaukee news anchor Mike Gousha is moderator of the breakfast event.


Chicago State University, a 143-year-old institution, has issued an RFP for an agency to develop a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy for the school on the Windy City’s south side.

CSU, which has a 161-acre campus and a mostly minority student body, has a paltry graduation rate below 20 percent, but enrollment for the fall 2009 term was 5,193, up nearly 9 percent from 2008. Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn, who is up for election this year after taking over in the aftermath of the Rod Blogojevich scandal last year, has said he wants to invest and expand in CSU.

The university wants a firm to handle various tasks like ongoing strategic communications counsel, development of internal and external comms. policies, media relations, collateral materials, digital, and events support.

The university plans to award a 15-month contract. Proposals are due Feb. 26.
Download the RFP at


CitationAir by Cessna, which offers private jet services to businesses and individuals, has ironed out a sponsorship deal with syndicated morning radio personality Don Imus.

The deal includes a mix of live endorsements, commercial spots and short-segment bits delivered during the “Imus in the Morning” program.

CitationAir chief Steve O’Neill says he teamed with Imus due to his “unmatched ability to connect with audiences.”

Citation's fleet consists of Cessna’s “Citation Bravo,” “Citation CJ3,” “Citation XLS” and “Citation Sovereign” models. It boasts of the “youngest fleet in the air" flown by the “best pilots in the industry.”

Cessna Aircraft Co. is a subsidiary of Textron. New York’s Goodman Media Int’l does PR for CitationAir.

BIGWARDROBE LOOKS FOR PR, the No. 1 Internet clothes swapping site, is looking for a U.S. PR firm to bolster its awareness here.

The U.K. site has 30,000 members in more than 100 countries, but only about 1,000 Americans are signed up. Members have traded over 130K items, mainly women's dresses, bags and shoes during the past 18 months. They are keen on the environmental benefits of recycling unwanted items, plus the opportunity to receive like value for the 25 percent of items in a typical woman's closet that are hardly/never worn.

The typical Bigwardrobe client is in the 18-to-35 year age bracket. There are about 40M women in that age category in the U.S.

Bigwardrobe does not have a PR budget. Rather it will split revenue generated in the U.S. with its PR partner on a 75:25 basis. For example, if U.S. membership reaches 10K, with each person paying an $18 annual fee, the PR firm would earn $45K. If 1M Americans join, the firm eyes a $4.5M pay day.

Contact: Kim Mellor, +44 (0)7590 927209.


Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 3


Penton Media, a leading business-to-business publisher, has filed a pre-packaged Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The move is expected to eliminate $270M in debt once the New York-based publisher emerges from the restructuring in about 45 days.

Sharon Rowlands, CEO of PM, said the revamp will enable the company to “achieve a debt level that is more sustainable in the current economic environment.” The company will be “better positioned to fully leverage our operations, which have been and continue to be profitable.”

PM is owned by MidOcean Partners and Wasserstein & Co. It anticipates a “significant new investment.”

There will be neither management changes nor cuts in employee benefits.

Founded in 1892, PM says it provides information to more than 6M professionals each month via magazines and websites in the aviation, agriculture, food services, hospitality, automotive, information technology, wealth management and electronics categories.

Titles include American Trucker, Ward’s AutoWorld, Delicious Living, Engineering TV, Defense Electronics, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Trucker, Association Meetings, Chief Marketer, Multichannel Merchant, Modern Baking, SQL Server, Trusts and Estates and Registered Rep.


The New York Times Company posted fourth quarter 2009 net of $90.9M, up from $27.6M in ’08, as the print and digital company eked out a $19.9M profit for the year amid an improved digital ad climate. It lost $57.8M in 2008.

Ad revenue fell 15 percent in the fourth quarter over ’08, including a 20% drop in print ads which was offset by 11% growth in digital. Total revenue for Q4 was $681M, down 11.5% from ’08.

For the full year, the Times’ $19.9M profit compared with a $57.8M loss in 2008.

President and CEO Janet Robinson said advertisers increased their rate of spending across its print and digital properties, while restructuring, new products and increased reach all contributed to gains.

She said “visibility remains limited for advertising” and expects the rate of decline for print ads to improve modestly in 2010 from Q4 of 2009. Digital ads are expected to continue growing.

The Times Co. said it slashed its debt under the $1B mark by more than $290M to stand at $769M.

Its property saw an operating profit gain of 80% in Q4 to $18M and total Internet revenues for the company were up 10.3% to $102M.

Robinson noted the company’s plans to introduce a paid model for in 2011, which she sees as an additional revenue stream that will preserve the company’s “robust” ad business.

The company cut operating costs by $475M in 2009, a more than 17% cut.


Ana Marie Cox, founding editor of Wonkette and a Washington correspondent for, has joined GQ, where she will pen features for the Conde Nast property.

She also will provide content to and do a podcast for GQ Radio.

Cox was with Air America, the liberal radio network that went belly-up last month. She was a national correspondent and fill-in host for Rachel Maddow.


Mobile phone users are 1.4 times more likely than desktop users to support a cause by a 67 percent to 47 percent margin, according to Ruder Finn’s first Mobile Intent Index study.

The survey found that users do not use mobile phones for educational or creative purposes because the transitory nature of the phone goes against spending time in engaging in discussion.

Men use mobiles to “escape,” women to “make people laugh.” Men are also more likely than women to use mobile phones to check prices (47 percent to 39 percent).

RF found that three-in-five respondents download applications at least once a month. The survey studied 500 Americans over the age of 18 who “use their mobile device to go online or to access the Internet.”


Owen Van Natta, who was recruited ten months ago to head News Corp.'s MySpace, has stepped down from the social networking firm. He is being replaced by new co-presidents Mike Jones, COO, and Jason Hirschhorn, chief product officer.

Van Natta made his mark at Facebook as chief revenue officer. He joined MySpace from Project Playlist, a music venture.

Jon Miller, CEO of digital media at News Corp., said Van Natta faced an "incredible challenge in working to refocus and revitalize MySpace, and the business has shown very positive signs recently as a result of his dedicated work."

Van Natta leaves proud of the "real gains in terms of product focus and user experience."

Jones founded Userplane, a provider of online tools to MySpace. It was acquired by AOL in 2006.

Hirschhorn was president of Sling Media's entertainment and chief digital officer of MTV Networks.


Ryan O'Hara, who stepped down as president of TV Guide Network, is the new CEO of Topps Co., the venerable trading card and chewing gum company, that was acquired by a company headed by former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

O'Hara takes over for Scott Silverstein, a former general counsel for Topps. Silverstein remains a director of Topps, which is owned by Eisner's Tornante and Madison Dearborn Partners.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 4


Time Warner’s top corporate communications executive, Edward Adler, who has been with the company since college, will step down after a “transition period,” the company said Feb. 12.

Adler, executive VP of corporate comms., has spent his entire career with the company and steps down after a challenging year which saw the company unravel its 2000 merger with AOL.

Adler told O’Dwyer’s via email that he doesn’t know his plans yet, but hopes for “another high level corporate” post.

Keith Cocozza, VP of corporate communications at TW, said there are no plans yet for a replacement.

“It was only because we are now on solid ground that, after discussing it with him, I reluctantly accepted Ed’s decision to look for new opportunities to apply his talents and capabilities,” chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement, thanking Adler for staying on for a transition.

Adler, who heads media relations, internal and external comms. for the media conglomerate, said he’s making a move that he’s wanted to make for “some time.”

He started out at TW in college and worked as a reporter for Time before moving on to HBO and later its corporate communications unit. He became VP of corporate comms. in 1997.


The SCG Legal PR Network, New York, has been set up by a network of nearly 1,000 lawyers to help reporters with legal aspects of their stories.

Journalists can post queries on the SGC network and receive comments without charge from lawyers or legal professionals.

Paramjit Mahli, a founder of the network, says many reporters have already used SCG’s lawyers with “great success.”

The lawyers are primed to act quickly because they know reporters are often on tight deadlines and need analysis and opinions quickly, Mahli said.

Legal experts are available on subjects such as copyright, trademarks, estate planning, tax law, divorce, workplace injuries and issues, franchising whether domestic or international, contract and securities law, real estate and many other areas.

Journalists post queries on the SCG website and “almost immediately, communications personnel can contact them so that sources can be interviewed and deadlines met,” says SCG literature.

If a journalist does not have time to submit a query or wait for replies, he or she can look up promising experts on the SCG database and contact them directly.

SCG believes it is the only legal network serving reporters without charge.

Mahli penned an January feature in TechnoLawyer outlining ways law firms can become “media darlings.”


USA Today publisher Dave Hunke has put a mandatory one-week furlough in place for all employees during the period from Feb. 28 to July 3 because the “nation’s economic recovery still appears inconsistent and unsure.”

In his memo to USAT's more than 1,0000-member workforce, Hunke defines the word “furlough.” He wrote: “A furlough means no one will be permitted to work while on furlough and no one will be exempt, except for business necessity.” There is “no work, no office phone calls, no voice mail, no e-mail and no PDA checking.”

Hunke also informed staffers that the one-year moratorium on pay increases that went into effect Feb. 1, 2009 is extended for at least another three months.

Management will closely monitor economic conditions and “institute a fair and equitable compensation increase plan as soon as conditions permit.”


Herb Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers basketball team and chairman emeritus at shopping mall developer Simon Property Group, has stepped in to buy Kirkus Reviews, which was being shut down by Nielson Co.

Simon is a big reader and long-time subscriber to KR. His statement notes turmoil faced by the publishing business that is being upended by e-books e-reading devices, but adds that he wants to be "part of the solution for the book publishing industry."

Simon is retaining editor Elaine Szewczyk and managing editor Eric Liebetrau.


Lucky, the shopping magazine from Conde Nast, has named Michelle Myers, founding publisher of People StyleWatch, as publisher.

Spun off from People, StyleWatch saw ad pages rise nearly 25 percent in 2009. It has the same little text and catalog format as Lucky.

Myers succeeds Gina Sanders, who is now CEO of CN’s Fairchild Fashion Group.


David Broder, the Washington Post columnist and “dean of the Beltway press corps,” was bombarded with more than 2,000 comments after he wrote a Feb. 11 tribute to Alaska’s former governor, Sarah Palin, that praised her “pitch-perfect populism.”

In reviewing Palin’s keynote at the National Tea Party Convention, and her debut on Fox News, Broder hailed Palin as “a public figure at the top of her game—a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.”

The long knives quickly came out for Broder as the piece triggered an avalanche of thousands of comments on the Post’s website handily topping the responses to recent columns -- 41 on Obama’s ties with Congress (Feb. 7), 312 for healthcare reform (Feb. 4) and 89 for campaign finance overhaul (Jan. 31).

Responders skewered Broder and Palin. Broder was largely attacked as “braindead,” the writer of “drivel,” master of “idiotic diatribe” and just plain “old and senile.”

Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 5


Haber & Quinn has fended off four competitors to retain PR and marketing duties for Florida International University's College of Nursing and Health Sciences after an RFP process.

Burson-Marsteller, Wragg and Casas PR, Everett Clay Associates and Circle One Marketing, all based in Miami, pitched for the work. H&Q, which has worked with the school for nine years, is based in Fort Lauderdale.

The school was formed through the merger of FIU’s nursing and health schools in 2006. The NHS school last week opened its new $34M state-of-the-art health science facility.

Negotiations to finalize an H&Q pact were slated for Feb. 12, firm principal John Quinn confirmed to O'Dwyer’s. The RFP was issued in December.

Sandra Gonzalez-Levy is VP, university and community relations, at FIU.


Havas kicked off the ad/PR conglomerate earnings season last week by posting a 7.8% slide in fourth quarter 2009 revenue from Q4 of ’08 -- 415M euros compared with 450M – as the company said it’s optimistic over a “strong recovery” in organic growth.

OG, which is growth minus acquisitions and currency movements, narrowed to -4.4% in Q4, an improvement over -9.2% over the first three quarters of 2009.

Havas said media and corporate communications – it owns Euro RSCG Worldwide PR – returned to positive growth for the first time in a year in Q4.

Full-year revenue was down 8.1% in 2009 to 1.4B euros.

Havas took its biggest lumps in Europe as organic growth there plummeted 14.3% in the U.K. and 9% in the rest of Europe, excluding France, where it more than doubled its U.K. revenue at 97M for only a two percent slip. North America was flat at 118M in Q4.

The company highlighted digital growth and said revenue in that sector grew from 9% of its business in 2006 to more than 16% in 2009. It projects nearly 20% of its work in digital this year on the strength of business with IBM, Heineken USA and EDF.

BRIEFS: Sard Verbinnen & Co. and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher are serving as PR advisors amid Air Products & Chemicals’ $5.1 billion hostile takeover bid of rival Airgas. Joele Frank is working with Airgas, which Feb. 11 said it will consider a second unsolicited tender offer from AP&C, even though the company said the latest $60-per-share cash bid is “identical” to an offer it rejected from AP&C last week. AP&C, which is working with Sard Verbinnen and the proxy solicitation firm Mackenzie Partners, said Airgas’ board is denying shareholders the opportunity for a “substantial” premium. Strategy + Communications, Weston, Conn., has aligned with MAR$AR Sports & Entertainment, Bedford Hills, N.Y. The duo is marketing a package for exhibitors at the National Assn. of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas April 12-15.


New York Area

5W PR, New York/Halo/Air Salt Rooms, the first “salt room” wellness facility in New York, for PR. The 22nd Street facility’s rooms are made out of salt from the salt caves of Europe.

KCSA Strategic Communications, New York/ChinaTel Group, for IR and financial comms. CTG just completed a $640M equity financing deal. Todd Fromer, managing partner at KCSA, heads the acct.

Peppercom, New York/ESI Design, experiential design firm, as AOR for PR, including media relations and events support for its Shanghai Corporate Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo.

CeCe Feinberg PR, New York/Bodacious Beach Blanket, to execute a national PR campaign.

TransMedia Group, New York/, online auction/shopping website, for PR.

Porter Novelli, New York/Bel Brands USA, as AOR for digital activities for its brands like The Laughing Cow and Mini Babybel cheeses. PN’s N.Y., Washington, D.C., and Chicago offices handle the account. The firm is working with advertising and media buying AORs – sister Omnicom firms DDB and OMD. Promotions agency Ryan Partnership is also involved.

Stanton PR & Marketing, New York/Mercy College, for a campaign focused on media relations to launch its Personalized Achievement Contact initiative, a mentoring program.

Shorey PR, Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Gideon Putnam Resort, for PR in the Northeast, including marketing, messaging and media strategies.


French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh/Moe’s Southwest Grill Cooperative, 13 “fast casual” locations in the Raleigh-Durham area, for an integrated marketing campaign.


Weber Shandwick, Minneapolis/Taste of the NFL, for a three-year campaign to support the National Football League effort to “tackle” hunger in the U.S.


mPRm PR, Los Angeles/Turner Classic Movies, for PR and social media for the first-ever TCM Classic Film Festival April 22-25 in Hollywood.

Addo Communications, Anaheim, Calif./DDi Corp., electronics manufacturing services, for IR.

Morgan Marketing & PR, Irvine, Calif./Action Zipline Tours, for a strategic awareness campaign for the new company as it opens its first location in Big Bear Lake, Calif.

WDC Media, Stonyford, Calif./“The Healing Today Show,” a production of the Lambs of Love and Christendom Ministries of Los Angeles, for PR. The show airs on the Christian TV Network.

Formula, San Diego/Heineken USA, as sampling agency of record in the West and Central regions via its Formula Street division, following an RFP process. Formula is charged with executing 11,000 events in 33 U.S. markets to promote beer brands like Heineken, Amstel Light and Tecate.

Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 6


Video monitoring company Critical Media has aligned with Turnkey Intelligence, a consumer research and sales automation vendor focused on the sports and entertainment industry.

Turnkey will use Critical Media’s broadcast monitoring platform in its ACTIVATOR service, which is used to manage, measure and report on multi-faceted, cross-media marketing partnerships.

Turnkey’s beta clients include the Chicago Bears, Phoenix Suns, Colorado Avalanche, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Sounders and the NBA.

Len Perna, president and CEO of Turnkey, praised the fact that the deal allows its clients to monitor all aspects of their marketing partnerships, including TV.


Nova Scotia Liquor Corp., the state-run sole distributor for alcoholic beverage sales in that province with annual sales topping $500M, has issued an RFP to develop and maintain daily media monitoring practices for the company.

“The NSLC has an invested interest in what is going on across the province and requires a leading service provider to support monitoring efforts,” reads the RFP, which calls for tracking across "all platforms.”

The state-run company, which is active in social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, wants daily emails of relevant coverage delivered to key principals.

Compliance with the Canada-based news aggregator CEDROM is required.
Deadline is Feb. 19. RFP is at


Allison Langfelder Hamilton, who held account posts at MultiVu and Medialink, has moved to West Glen Communications as an A/D in the New York-based firm’s Washington, D.C. outpost.

Hamilton was recently an account director at National Journal.

Previously, she was national account manager at MultiVu, part of PR Newswire, and client solutions manager at Medialink, now part of TheNewsMarket.

BRIEFS: Cision has teamed up with social media consultant Sarah Evans to transcribe sessions of Evans’ weekly Twitter talks, as well as to collaborate on white papers, webinars and conferences. Evans said Cision has played a key role in her “#journchat” series since its inception in November 2008. ...IABC Detroit is accepting PR case submissions for its 2010 Renaissance Awards covering a variety of categories, including social networking and media this year. The competition is open to PR pros (including non-members) in southeast Michigan, northwest Ohio and southwest Ontario. Info is at, part of the pink sheets-traded Extensions Inc., said it filed a patent for a process to quantify the benefits of a PR campaign. The process starts by establishing the reach of a new client and following up with reports on changes to that status. Info:



Kathleen Wahlbin, senior VP at Virilion, to Jones Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., as senior VP to lead its digital team. She was previously CEO of RampWEB.

Naomi Decter, a partner in Brunswick Group's Washington, D.C., office, to Beckerman to head its new capital outpost. Decter takes the title of senior VP for crisis, litigation and legal services for the growing firm based in Hackensack, N.J. She was previously a VP for Powell Tate and earlier was an editorial writer for the Washington Times. She is the daughter of prominent conservative writers Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter.

Michelle McLeod, A/S, Nancy J. Friedman PR in New York, to Turner PR, Denver, as a senior A/E. She was previously with Cohn & Wolfe and Porter Novelli.

Doug Heye, a Capitol Hill communications staffer, has moved to the Republican National Committee as communications director ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections. He fills the post vacated by Burson-Marsteller veteran Trevor Francis in a November shake-up. Heye, who appears regularly on cable news and in print, was communications director for RNC chair Michael Steele’s failed 2006 Senate bid in Maryland. He backed a winner in 2004 as comms. director for Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) election campaign and on his Senate staff. The RNC has also promoted Katie Right to deputy communications director as press secretary Gail Gitcho exits for the staff of newly elected Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Cathy Planchard, PR group director for Tempe-based Mindspace, to Allison & Partners, as GM of its Phoenix outpost charged with leading its growth in the region. She’s VP/comms. for the Junior League there and a board member of its PRSA chapter.


Alicia Mitchell to senior VP for communications, American Hospital Association, Washington, D.C. She’s a 20-year veteran of the AHA.

Breanna Deidel and Lee Bley to counselor and senior associate, respectively, at JohnstonWells PR, Denver. Deidel’s been with the firm for six years and leads accounts like BERNINA of America and Goodwill Industries of Denver. Two-year vet Bley is on all client teams and will continue her role in the firm’s social media unit.

Mark Oberle to senior VP, corporate affairs, Celanese Corp., Dallas. He joined in 2005.


Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 7


A reduced advance rate of $1,075 was available until Sept. 12, 2008 for the conference that year.

The regular rate for members has increased 42% since 2001. It was $895 for registrants that year after Sept. 7, 2001, and $795 before that.

For the first time, registrants are warned that the regular rate for a conference is “subject to increase.”

Leaders appear to be expecting a large turnout for the event in the nation’s capital.

The last time it was in D.C. was 24 years ago—1986.

Headphones for O'Dwyer

Gary McCormick, chair of the Assn., said in an e-mail that Jack O’Dwyer of this NL will be given earphones so that he will be assured of hearing the entire Assembly. His requests for such assistance were turned down at the 2009 Assembly.

O'Dwyer contended that he and delegates were unable to hear much of the delegate comments because they spoke from the floor of the Assembly, rather than on the stage where leaders spoke, and the other delegates could only see the backs of the heads of the speakers. Many delegates did not speak close enough to the microphone.

O’Dwyer’s suggestion that delegates speak from the stage and “through the chair” (as allowed by Robert's Rules of Order) has not won approval.

O’Dwyer has also asked for permission to record the Assembly, for purposes of accuracy, using a direct hookup to the hotel's audio system.

No Plans for Audiocasting as Yet

McCormick said the Assn. will not provide an audiotape or a transcript of the 2010 Assembly.

There are also no plans at present to audiocast the Assembly “live.” Several speakers at the 2009 conference in San Diego were audiocast live.

Technicians estimate the cost of a live audiocast would be no more than $250 or $300, based on up to 1,000 members listening at once at 25 cents to 50 cents each.

McCormick said the Washington Hilton is undergoing renovations including the “conference room” that will house the Assembly.

The hotel's website says that $26 million is being spent on renovating the “guest rooms” and this will be completed by the fall. There is no mention of conference rooms being renovated.

The biggest meeting room, the “Presidential Ballroom,” is 7,800 sq. ft. and seats 800 “theater style” or 900 for a reception.

President Reagan was shot as he was leaving the Washington Hilton (not the Capital Hilton) in 1981.

Assn. Withholds Information

Information that the Assn. is currently withholding includes the audiotapes and transcripts of Assemblies since 2005 (no transcript was created for the 2009 Assembly); the identities of Assembly delegates (which are available only to delegates who ask for the list and some delegates have chosen not to be on the list); the complete list of members, which was available to members and others until 2005 (the Assn. refuses to discuss the possibility of supplying a PDF of the membership), and all the electronic votes at the 2009 Assembly since numerical totals were flashed on screens (RONR requires that “counted votes” be in the minutes).

The Association as well as Prof. Tim Penning of Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich., have no explanation as to why Penning’s full-page essay in the Sept. 2008 Tactics on PR being “debate, discussion and dialogue” is not on the Assn. website when other essays by him are on the site.


Fashion PR firm KCD Worldwide handled 40-year-old London designer Alexander McQueen, who was found dead in his apartment Feb. 11 at the kick-off on Fashion Week in New York.

A presentation slated at Milk Studios in the Meatpacking District was canceled. The show was to debut McQueen’s “McQ” line of affordable clothing to be sold at Target.

McQueen, who reportedly hung himself, was hailed by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as “one of the greatest talents of his generation.” The Associated Press credits McQueen for “helping revive the once-moribond British fashion industry.”

McQueen’s website carries a statement from his family, saying that it is “inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying we are devastated.”

The Wall Street Journal reports McQueen’s director of communications sent off an email following news of the death, saying the “immediate priority is to secure all items and garments from current and past collections. We are therefore stopping all trafficking of samples.”

The company also wants to retrieve ASAP garments that are on fashion shoots because “it is our responsibility to keep Lee’s legacy safe and protected.”


Chrysler, now aligned with Italian automaker Fiat, said it has named its first social media marketing agency of record, New Media Strategies, Arlington, Va.

NMS was founded in 1999 by pollster and media consultant Pete Snyder and has worked with clients from Ford Motor Company and political campaigns to Coca-Cola and the SCI FI Channel.

Dianna Gutierrez, Chrysler’s lead for brand newsroom/marketing communications, declined to discuss which (or what type) of firms were considered for the assignment.

“Typically, we do not discuss that type of information publicly,” she said via email.

NMS is charged with handling social media for the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram Truck brands in line with the company’s advertising and marketing efforts.

The U.S. government brokered the Fiat-Chrysler deal last year under which the Italian automaker took a 20% stake in the Detroit giant. The United Auto Workers Union owns 55% of the new Chrysler, the federal government has an eight percent stake and Canada owns 2%.

Uncle Sam shelled out $14.3 billion to the company but Chrysler said it will repay the lifeline by 2014.


Internet Edition, February 17, 2010, Page 8




Since Coca-Cola is hosting a $1,195 three-day “social media” conference for PR people at its h.q. in Atlanta Feb. 22-24, the focus will be on its products and policies as well as social media.

First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a $10 billion “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity in particular.

She wants all sweetened products removed from schools throughout the U.S.

The possibility of a soda tax was explored by the Feb. 14 New York Times.

It said Americans drink about 50 gallons of soda yearly plus other sweetened beverages (mostly using the cheaper but hard to digest corn syrup). The products of Coke and other soda and fast-food companies are under close examination.

According to the map of obesity of the Centers of Disease Control, the area around Atlanta is the fattest place in the U.S. CDC says about one-third of adults are obese while other organizations say about two-thirds are “overweight.”

Some nutritionists are saying that doctors and drug companies are not doing enough to publicize the dangers of poor eating habits. They want warning signs in doctors’ offices and medical facilities.

Doctors and drug companies make a lot of money treating heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses that could be made far less common through proper dieting, say nutritionists.

Coke, Ragan, NANA Are Sponsors

The Feb. 22-24 meeting is the annual SM conference of Ragan Communications but top billing is going to Coke and third-place billing to NANA (nee PR Society).

COO Bill Murray of NANA is to speak on the decline of traditional media and the rise of SM.

Coke and other soda companies are pictured by nutritionists as major culprits in the fattening of the U.S. Blacks have a 51% higher rate of obesity and Hispanics, 21% higher.

If you listen to what some nutritionists are saying about sodas and particularly their use of high fructose corn syrup, you’ll never drink another soda.

They say corn sugars are o.k. for cows which have four stomachs but they are a burden to human metabolism.

Eliminating corn syrup would slash the costs of treating diabetes and heart disease, says nutritionist Amelia Armstrong.

Coke did not answer our queries about its use of corn syrup and Pepsi referred us to the Beverage Institute.

The Institute argues that corn sugar is not that much different from real sugar.

Some see the answer in drinking diet soda but others say that such a change will only make you fatter since you will crave food.

Consumers need to explore this subject via the numerous sources on the internet. They cannot just rely on what the soda companies are saying via SM.

Coke and Pepsi currently have major campaigns using traditional and SM to position themselves as model corporate citizens.

Coke also has issues about its policies in Colombia which are under fire and its alleged moves to halt a Canadian TV segment on Coke and Colombia.

Reporters Need Legal Help

A group of lawyers has formed the SCG Legal PR Network to help journalists with thorny legal angles on stories, a much-needed development.

The American Bar Assn. as well as the New York State Bar have long had “hotlines” for reporters.

But our experience with both is that if questions get too detailed, as is often the case, the advice will be, “Hire a lawyer.”

A problem with talking to lawyers is that a phone call of a few minutes can result in a bill of hundreds of dollars, even though a minor technical question might be involved.

SCG staffers tell us that some lawyers are trying to switch to “value billing” when appropriate, meaning a subject of lesser complication or importance might result in a lower bill.

Sources say law firms were hard hit by the recession and especially Wall Street-connected firms and need to reach out to the business community.

Paramjit Mahli, a co-founder of SCG Legal PR Network, has written a three-page set of PR guidelines for lawyers that would work well for just about any professional.

Lawyers have to get over their traditional reticence about publicity and learn to get their names in the media, she says. It can take time, she adds, for them to position themselves as experts in a particular area of the law.

All law firms should have an online press room. Other advice is follow what editors write and send them letters or e-mails.

NANA Skips Board Meeting

In a blockbuster announcement at the end of the first blog of NANA chair Gary McCormick, he says that the next board meeting (after the one on Jan. 28-30 at h.q.) will be July 15-17 in Atlanta.

The board is skipping its spring meeting for the first time in its history based on our records.

This is obviously a cost-cutting move since transporting and lodging 19 people (including the two African-American “senior counsels” who don’t have a vote) would probably be more than $50,000.

But NANA will spend more than $100,000 on the June 4-6 “Leadership Rally” of 109 presidents-elect of the chapters, the very people that the new bylaws say are to serve as delegates to the Assembly “unless otherwise ordered by the chapter”.

McCormick in effect has admitted that NANA is strapped for cash, that the board is so unimportant it doesn’t even have to meet, but that continued stroking of the chapter leaders is what is needed no matter what the cost.

The “Rally,” which was born in 1999, borders on the scandalous especially since it replaced the Spring Assembly that helped govern NANA for its first 40 years.

he Assembly had voted twice to move h.q. from New York. The savings would have been in the tens of millions.

The presidents-elect each receives $500 in cash from national to help with the weekend in New York.

How can the Assembly exert “leadership” if it meets once a year and about half of its members turn over each year?

NANA, needing money, has put an early deadline on those who want to register for the D.C. conference.

If members don’t pay $1,025 by March 1 (seven months before the meeting), it will cost them $1,275. Last year members had until Sept. 25 to sign up for $975. The regular rate for members has climbed 42% since 2001 when it was $895 ($795 for early sign-up).

One easy way for NANA to put its books in order would be alternating conferences between New York and D.C. But the provincial interests who control the Assn. would never allow this.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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