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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - April 18, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 15 (download PDF version)

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The Army has kicked off an RFP review of a multimillion-dollar PR account supporting U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Army Sergeant
Army sergeant finds a bag of weapons in Afghanistan April 7.

Photo: Defense Dept.

SOS International is the incumbent and received extensions in October 2010 and late March 2011 earning more than $70M for its efforts. It won the pact in an open competition in 2006. The Rendon Group and Fulcra Worldwide have also provided PR support since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

The RFP, initially expected to be released in early March, covers support for public affairs operations and is open through May 9.

“The information domain is a battlespace, and it is one in which [U.S. forces in Afghanistan, or USFOR-A] must take aggressive actions to win the important battle of perception,” reads a statement of work document from the Army contracting command. “The account involves media monitoring, strategic communications advisement and enactment, among other tasks, all based in Kabul.”

The RFP is available from Army contracting.


The Harbour Group is working for the Libyan Transitional National Council to achieve official U.S. recognition and control of the assets of Col. Gadaffi’s government that are frozen in American financial institutions, according to the pact between the two parties.

The Council wants to form national political and civic institutions that would lead to free and fair elections. It supports the “inalienable rights” of people to free expression and rejects “racism, intolerance, discrimination and terrorism.”

THG will push for U.S. humanitarian assistance to Libya and other goals of the Council via preparation of speeches, social media platforms, outreach to think tanks and conferences. It is working on a pro-bono basis.

THG also represents the United Arab Emirates and its U.S-Emirates Alliance, work that is pegged in the $2M a-year range.


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The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has moved its tourism PR account to Interpublic’s Current Lifestyle Marketing, following an RFQ process.

Development Counselors International was the incumbent.

Charlie Haz, a media relations staffer at the bureau, told O’Dwyer’s 11 firms pitched, a field which was narrowed to six finalists.

Current’s New York office will lead the account. The Chicago-based firm is led by Weber Shandwick alum Virginia Devlin, who confirmed the win.

Devlin said the account will be under the leadership of Sara Joseph, VP and the agency’s travel practice head.

The RFQ, released in September, called for a three-year contract through September 2013 guiding PR for the Miami “brand.”

Work includes development and implementation of a strategic PR plan, as well as efforts like press tours.

A specific emphasis is placed on attracting visitors through media publicity during the summer and so-called shoulder season, between the peak and low point.



Lisa Rosenberg left Porter Novelli after two decades for the president slot at Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, one of three key moves at the Havas unit.

Current president Marian Salzman, who worked with Rosenberg at PN, has moved into the new CEO of North American PR slot at Euro RSCG. Also, Katie McSorley, who headed Euro PR’s Pittsburgh office, was named president for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Rosenberg was a senior partner, director of global brand marketing and managing director of the New York office of PN, part of Omnicom, where she started in 1990 as an account executive and rose through the ranks, handling some of the agency’s most iconic accounts like M&M’s, Uncle Ben’s, Kellogg’s and Heineken.

“She’s a legendary consumer marketer, a focused manager and a hard-driving new business leader-something I know from working closely with her at Porter,” Salzman said of Rosenberg.

Rosenberg was previously with Hill & Knowlton.

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