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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - August 29, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 33 (download PDF version)

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Ruder Finn CEO Kathy Bloomgarden and Mower and Assocs. CEO Eric Mower are PR’s representatives on a nine-member committee announced Aug. 24 by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to develop a plan to attract businesses to the Empire State.

Andrew Cuomo

The “New York Open for Business” campaign will get the message out to companies throughout the world that New York is a premier place for business to invest and grow," said the Governor, who assumed office in January.

The push includes an RFP for a “major communications firm" to help create “a bold new campaign, across all media, to promote the advantages of doing business in New York,” he said. The Empire State Development Corporation is handling that process. The budget for the multi-year budget is from $10M to $50M.

Cuomo noted that the massive job flight that has devastated communities throughout the state has given New York an “image of having one of the worst business climates in the nation.”

The Democrat believes New York is becoming more “business-friendly” in the aftermath of the deal to balance its budget without a tax hike, ethics reforms and launch of regional economic business councils. The state also boasts of an educated work force and strong network of universities and colleges.

Other members of the Cuomo panel include Donny Deutsch (chairman of Deutsch Inc.), Shelly Lazarus (chairman of Ogilvy & Mather), Ken Chenault (CEO of American Express), Robert Wilmers (CEO of M&T Bank), and Julie Shimer (CEO of Welch Allyn), among others. RFP:


Weber Shandwick's Detroit office has picked up the “Pure Michigan” branding account in a competitive pitch to the state's strategic fund and economic development corporation.

Mike Finney, MEDC president & CEO, says the Interpublic unit’s 74-country network will help “market Michigan nationally and around the world.”

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation in March that funded the Pure Michigan brand push at $25M. The Pure Michigan brand began in 2006 as a tourism pitch that featured the voice of actor Tim Allen, a native of the Wolverine State.


WPP recorded a 14 percent rise in first-half operating profit to $853M on a six percent jump in revenues to $8.9B as the U.S. economic slowdown in ad/PR spending was offset by “good growth” in the U.K. and developing world.

CEO Martin Sorrell said Aug. 24 he believes it is too early to “predict the impact of the recent correction in the world equity markets on consumer and corporate behavior,” but notes there have been no cutbacks yet.

He sees a disconnection between the “macro picture as defined by the stock markets and the micro picture as defined by individual company results.” He does warn that “markets look to the future, often a year or so in advance, and are rarely wrong.”

Sorrell said “boardroom fear” has CEO’s cutting capital spending in favor of boosting marketing outlays.

On the deal front, WPP sees a “very significant pipeline of reasonably priced small and medium sized potential acquisitions.”

Sorrell has established a $650M acquisition war chest for the year. That’s up from a $165M annual cap.

WPP looks forward to the 2012 London Olympics and U.S. presidential election, a race that could result in $4B spending).


California’s high-speed rail project is reviewing its multimillion-dollar PR account with a new RFP after Ogilvy PR Worldwide resigned the account in June.

The $45B plan to build high-speed train lines between Los Angeles and San Francisco has faced public criticism and various setbacks, and Ogilvy quit the account after less than two years amid reports that both client and agency were not on the same page.

The California High Speed Rail Authority issued the new RFP on Aug. 23 with a deadline set for Sept. 7.

The RFP notes that Ogilvy terminated its work in June and is currently serving in a transition role. It had billed more than $2M through February 2011.

Ogilvy edged Porter Novelli and Mercury Public Affairs to win the account in 2009.

The Authority said there is a maximum of $1.1M available for the PR pact in the current fiscal year with future years estimated at $1.7M through 2014.

“Simply put, the contractor will be responsible for assisting in the success of the implementation of high-speed rail in California by explaining key decision points of the project to a broad audience,” reads the RFP. That includes a long-term communications strategy and helping to execute it.


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