FACEBOOK HIRED B-M FOR GOOGLE KNOCK
Facebook admitted to hiring Burson-Marsteller last week in an ongoing media flap sparked when a potential op-ed source courted to knock FB rival Google published the PR firm’s overtures online.
USA Today last week said it was among “top-tier media outlets” targeted by B-M to place news stories and editorials about how Google’s Social Circle email feature violates the privacy of users.
Speculation broke out about who B-M was working for – the firm declined to say – until a Facebook spokesman confirmed to the Daily Beast that the social network hired the firm. Facebook said it hired B-M because Google is moving into social networking services and also because Facebook “resents” Google’s attempts to use FB data in those services.
The client and PR firm have since parted ways.
The episode began when Burson reached out to blogger and privacy advocate Chris Soghoian to write a critical op-ed about Google’s service. When a Burson exec – former National Journal scribe John Mercurio – declined to name its client, Soghoian posted his email exchanges with B-M online, sparking a spate of outrage.
B-M has called the situation “highly unusual” and said it does not represent standard practice at the firm. “Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined,” the firm said in a statement.
PRSA president Rosanna Fiske, in a rare rebuke of a PR agency, criticized B-M for not revealing its client.
CAPUTO TRAVELS TO TRAVELERS
Lisa Caputo, who was executive VP-global marketing and corporate affairs at Citigroup, is moving to insurance giant Travelers Cos. on June 1 for the executive VP-marketing & comms. position.
Prior to Citi, Caputo served as press secretary to First Lady Hillary Clinton and a deputy assistant to the president.
At Travelers, she will report to executive VP Doreen Spadorcia for marketing and chief legal officer Alan Schnitzer for communications matters.
Most recently at Citi, Caputo was managing director and senior banker of the public sector group of its institutional clients operation. She also served as chief marketing officer, among other posts and established and helmed Citi’s Women & Co, membership business to financially empower females.