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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - August 22, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 32 (download PDF version)

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New Mexico is expected to put its tourism PR and advertising contracts out for bid later this month as a new tourism secretary seeks to put her stamp on the state’s marketing efforts.

New Mexico
James Orr/N.M. Tourism Dept.

Development Counsellors International won a competitive pitch process last May to guide the low-six-figure account, ousting incumbent Ballantines PR.

Monique Jacobson, a former marketing exec for PepsiCo who was named state tourism secretary in January, said RFPs are expected by the fall.

Jacobson said, noting that current contracts were up for renewal at the start of the 2012 fiscal year, when they were extended three months until the end of September.

Karyl Leigh Barnes, senior VP/partner at DCI, told O'Dwyer’s the firm is planning to respond to the RFP.

Jacobson is concerned with New Mexico’s ranking as 24th on a list of places people want to visit, noting she thinks it should be among the top three in the U.S.

Twelve firms pitched last year’s PR review.

Publicis’ M&C Saatchi is the incumbent for New Mexico’s $2.5M-a-year advertising account. PR billings are set at $120K this year.


The American Bankers Association will have a new PR face in September as the trade group for the $13 trillion banking industry replaces 20-year veteran Ginny Dean.


The Podesta Group’s Stephanie Matthews O’Keefe will take over as executive VP of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based group on Sept. 6.

ABA president and CEO Frank Keating said the group is fortunate to recruit the former investment banker “at such a critical time for the banking industry.”

O’Keefe has been a principal and director of business development for the past year at Podesta, which she joined in 2010 after a year as senior VP/comms. for the Export Import Bank of the U.S.

Her longest tenure has been with the non-profit development group Local Intitiatives Support Corp., where she stepped down in 2009 as senior VP, external affairs, after 15 years. She was also an investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston.

A West Virginia native, O’Keefe was state director for the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.

ABA represents the $13 trillion banking industry.


Interpublic has unloaded half of its five-year-old stake in Facebook for $133M, a significant return on its initial $5M investment.

The advertising and PR conglomerate bought a small stake of less than one-half a percent of FB in 2006.

CEO Michael Roth said an attractive opportunity to divest a portion of its position presented itself as he also announced that IPG would spend $150M buying back stock, expanding on an existing $300M re-purchase program started back in February.

Interpublic late last month reported a 31 percent rise in second quarter net income to $108.9M as revenues jumped to $1.7B. Its shares are around $8.90, toward the lower end of its $7.49-$13.35 range over the past year.

Based on the sale of IPG’s small stake, Facebook’s valuation is pegged around $66B.

Roth said Facebook’s “ubiquity” has meant the “strategic value of our initial investment has moderated, while the financial value of that stake appreciated significantly.”

IPG did not disclose the buyer of its stake.

The company first divulged the stake in a footnote to its 2010 annual report, noting it had become big enough to require the company to disclose it to the SEC.

“From time to time, we make investments in privately held companies that we believe may be of interest to the advertising and marketing sector,” IPG said in that report. “Certain of these investments, the most significant of which is Facebook, have significantly appreciated compared to their cost..."

IPG PR units include Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, Rogers & Cowan and DeVries PR.


Atlanta’s economic development authority is looking for a firm to develop and execute a PR program to buff its image among citizens, media and elected officials and increase the number of business relocation leads via outreach to companies and brokers.

The Atlanta Development Authority has an RFP open through September 7 asking for an “aggressive, proactive and integrated” PR approach to “tell its story and shape its identity and reputation for the long term,” according to the document.

The 35-year-old ADA installed a new president and CEO in May – Brian McGowan, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and COO at the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the Obama administration.

Download the RFP at

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