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

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The public-private agency that promotes travel to the United States has tapped a group of WPP agencies including JWT and Hill & Knowlton for its $200M global marketing account.

Corporation for Travel Promotion

The Corporation for Travel Promotion, set up in 2011 by Congress, woos international visitors to the U.S. through marketing and PR efforts.

JWT will take the lead on the account, which will include work by sister firms Medicom, The Brand Union and H&K.

The WPP group beat teams from sister unit Ogilvy as well as Omnicom's DDB in the final pitch. The Talent Business handled the search for the CTP.

“America is a uniquely compelling and diverse travel destination, and the CTP, for the first time in our nation's history, will be creating “Brand USA,” to help bring more international visitors to every corner of our wonderful country,” said Jim Evans, the former Best Western CEO who took the reins as the first CEO of the CTP in May.

CTP’s board includes executives from around the travel sector, including Sabre Holdings, Diamond Resorts, NYC & Co. and United Airlines. The group named Blitz Media CEO and former Arnold and Publicis exec Chris Perkins its chief marketing officer on Aug. 29.


Huntsworth, the U.K. PR and healthcare communications holding company, said revenue ticked up 1.3% in the first half of 2011 to £88.1M as gains at its Grayling, Huntsworth Health and Red units contrasted with a decline at Citigate.

Like-for-like revenue growth at Citigate fell 2.5% to £13.2M amid a “subdued” IPO and M&A market, while revenue rose at its other units.

Peter Chadlington, CEO of Huntsworth, said clients are taking much longer to make decisions, procurement is playing a greater role, and a “much higher level of sophistication” is being applied to hiring agencies, changes, he says, are here to stay but particularly visible during difficult economic times. One side effect is that the company will not see full revenue benefits from global business wins earlier this year -- British Airways, DHL and DEK -- until Q4 or early 2012.

“While we wait for these larger accounts to come on stream, particularly in Q4 and in 2012, it has been necessary for us to hold the resources in place to service the expected revenue increase, in turn putting short-term pressure on margins,” he said.

U.S. operations were up 4.8% while the U.K. was essentially flat at a 0.3% increase and Western Europe fell 4.7%. Operating profit fell to £8.1M from £11.2M a year earlier. Recent client wins and existing business expansion at Grayling, which is 49% of Huntsworth's revenue base, include Google (Sweden, Russia), Audi (Middle East), European Commission for DG Employment, and BAE Systems (Middle East).


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.

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 and branding exec for PepsiCo who was named state tourism secretary in January, told the Associated Press that marketing pacts will be reviewed with a national search. RFPs could be released as early as next week.

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.


Kenya, which is struggling with its worst drought in 60 years, has renewed its public policy advocacy and communications pact with Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Assocs. for two years at $2.4M.

The eastern Africa nation is home of the world's largest refugee camp as more than 400,000 Somalis have fled their country, which is suffering from drought and fighting between warlords.

The United Nations has spent $1B for humanitarian relief for drought victims in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia and is looking for an additional $1.2B from members. The U.S. has earmarked $225M.

CLS&A is charged with message development, research, media/policymaker/influencer outreach and cultivation of third parties in support of its client.


A $3.2 billion takeover bid for Transatlantic Holdings has engaged several financial communications firms as a PR and legal battle mounts amid a rival, hostile bid.

Validus Holdings, a Bermuda-based insurer, is mounting a hostile bid for Transatlantic Holdings, a rival bid to a deal by Allied World Assurance, which is favored by Transatlantic’s board. Berkshire Hathaway has also pursued acquiring New York-based Transatlantic in recent months.

Brunswick Group’s New York office is advising Validus and handling media interest in its hostile push, which included an Aug. 22 proxy filing urging Transatlantic shareholders to oppose the $3.2B Allied World deal.

Joele Frank and Brainerd Communications are working with Transatlantic, which earlier this month brushed aside Berkshire Hathaway’s $52-per-share offer as inferior to the deal with Allied World, although a deal is still possible.

Abernathy MacGregor Group is counseling Allied World.

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