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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - August 8, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 30 (download PDF version)

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Brown Lloyd James, which worked for Libya’s Col. Qaddafi, received $25K from Syria for arranging a photo shoot for Vogue with First Lady Asma al-Assad, according to its just filed Justice Dept. registration.

Asma al-Assad

She’s the wife of Bashar al-Assad, who invaded Lebanon, allied with Iran/Hamas and is currently leading a bloody crackdown on protestors. Syria ranked as the fourth member of President Bush’s “axis of evil.”

The BLJ assignment began Nov. 22 and ran until the article was published in March. BLJ’s effort resulted in a flattering piece that was headlined “A Rose in the Desert.”

It described Asma al-Assad as “glamorous, young and very chic-the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.” She’s a “rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement.”

The “fawning treatment of the Assad family and its portrayal of the regime as tolerant and peaceful generated surprise and outrage in the Washington foreign policy community,” reported

Vogue senior editor Chris Knutsen defended the piece as a “profile of the First Lady, and not a referendum on the al-Assad regime.”

BLJ collected $1.3M from Libya in 2009 for arranging Qaddafi’s visit to the United Nations.


Elevation Burger, the nation's first organic hamburger chain since opening in Falls Church, Va. in 2005, is looking for a PR firm to support its market expansion program.

Elevation Burger

Elevation expects to grow from 25 restaurants at yearend to 100 by the end of 2013.

The chain features beef from grass-fed cows, hand-cut french fries cooked in olive oil and shakes made from ice cream and hormone free milk.

EB identifies “discerning parents” as its core market.

They choose healthier dining options for their children and themselves. That market includes “overly concerned mini-van driving moms” along with “Prius/Saab station wagon environmentally conscious types,” according to the RFP.

The company is looking for PR, media/blogger outreach, “relationship building with appropriate centers of influence,” community relations and Twitter/Facebook development.

The PR firm will identify organizations that EB staffers should join and work for placement on the Food Network and similar channels.

EB expects to interview five firms for the job that will have a monthly retainer from $3K to $5K. August 31 is the deadline for proposals.

James Stewart ([email protected]) is handling the search.


Perdue is reviewing its social media work with Fleishman-Hillard as part of a wider review of its creative advertising account handled by Interpublic's Deutsch in some form for the past 40 years.


A spokeswoman for Perdue told O’Dwyer’s that F-H’s PR account is not part of the account review, only its social media work.

F-H, part of Omnicom, recently handled Perdue's “Verifiably Good” YouTube contest, a campaign to support a new USDA Process Verified Seal on its products which had consumers shoot clips using the campaign's slogan. The firm is expected to pitch in the review.

Ad Age reported that the poultry giant ended its decades-long run with Deutsch, kicking off a review for creative, digital, media buying and social media. The company says the move is an effort to consolidate its marketing.

In June, the New York Times previewed a broader advertising mix from Perdue beyond its iconic spots featuring Frank Perdue and, more recently, his son, Jim, as the company sought to reach consumers more concerned about the food they eat.

Search firm Select Resources is handling the review.


IBM has signed up Burson-Marsteller-affiliated Prime Policy Group to handle corporate tax reform, patents, cyber-security issues, trade and labor matters.

Big Blue shelled out $2M in D.C. lobbying outlays during the first-half of the year, according to its federal filings.

The company, which had $26.7B in second quarter revenue, sought input on matters related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, free trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia, digital economy trade pacts and conflict minerals.

PPG has nine staffers handling IBM including chairman Charlie Black, former Republican National Committee spokesman; Gardner Peckham, ex-national security advisor to House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Pam Turner, former assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Dept. of Homeland Security and Keith Smith, alum of United Technologies Corp.


Allison & Partners, which is owned by MDC Partners, has opened its first overseas office in London. Susanna Hughes, a native of the U.K., heads the operation.

Scott Allison selected London for the A&P outpost because it's a “magnet for foreign investment and a hub for global brands.”

Hughes has worked on B2B, consumer technology, travel and professional services clients.

San Francisco-based A&P registered $15.5M in 2010 fees, up six percent over ’09.

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