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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Sept. 19, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 36 (download PDF version)

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Publicis has acquired tech and healthcare PR firm Schwartz Communications, the 21-year-old, No. 10 independent in the country with more than $25M in revenue and 180 staffers last year.

The French ad/PR conglomerate said Waltham, Mass.-based Schwartz, including its San Francisco, Stockholm and London operations, will be folded into MSLGroup under the name Schwartz MSL. Publicis said MSL becomes the largest agency in Boston with 100 staffers after the deal. It also claims to be No. 2 in San Francisco tech PR.

MSLGroup chief Olivier Fleurot said the deal strengthens Publicis’ PR network in a number of fields, singling out technology and especially healthcare, which, Publicis noted, is expected to grow by more than 50% through 2020.

Clients for Schwartz include GEO Healthcare-Americas,, Epocrates, and Accuray.

Publicis said in July that organic growth at its PR operation was up five percent in the second quarter with its U.S. operations bolstered by social media and health-care assignments. The company has made several PR acquisitions this year focused on Asian markets.


MWW Group has picked up agency of record duties for New Jersey-based carmaker Subaru of America.


Michael McHale, director of corporate communications at SOA, said the company liked MWW’s consumer and automotive experience, as well as the firm’s social media savvy.

The independent firm has worked with BMW motorcycles and Volkswagen of America.

SOA announced last week that it hired former Volkswagen corporate communications manager, Sheriece Matias as manager of corporate comms.

Brushfire, another New Jersey-based firm, handled the account for the past four years.

MWW’s New York office, under the management of executive VP David Herrick, leads the account with assistance from the firm’s Los Angeles outpost. MWW’s lifestyle marketing unit will promote the car brand among lifestyle media and cultivate Subaru’s community of owners and enthusiasts in digital media.

MWW CEO Michael Kempner said his firm’s efforts to tell the company’s story “will harness Subaru’s spirit of adventure, cultural currency and passionate community.”


Qorvis is handling the U.S. branding campaign for Palestine ahead of the anticipated United Nations vote this month to grant nationhood to the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. is attempting to head off that vote.


The three-month $90K pact involves PR, advertising, direct mail, social media and outreach to opinion makers and policymakers.

The D.C. firm is serving as subcontractor to Ellam Tam, the Ramallah-headquartered ad/PR shop. The Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce is bankrolling the effort.

The campaign is to foster a better understanding of Palestine and its people. The PACoC also is looking to promote trade and tourism.

The drive seeks to “break the many myths and misconceptions surrounding Palestine and help people recognize the great promise of growth, prosperity and peace that can arise from this land and its people,” according to Qorvis' federal filing. It notes that Palestine has a 95 percent literacy rate and that its universities graduate 45,000 people a year.

Qorvis, which represents Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain, has assigned John Deschauer, Tina Jeon, Sol Levine, Sam Dealey and William Dempster to the Palestine account.

Britain’s Bell Pottinger, which frequently teams with Qorvis, is doing PR work for the Palestine Liberation Organization.


The Food and Drug Administration is planning two solicitations this month for PR programs funded under the 2009 law that imposed new warnings and regulations on tobacco products and gave the FDA authority over the sector.

Both RFPs are intended to select pools of firms to compete for and handle communications projects over the next five years for assignments related to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act passed in January 2009. That law gave the FDA the authority to address both tobacco dependence and its use by young people, nearly a decade after the Supreme Court said in 2000 that the FDA didn’t have such power.

One RFP will be geared for large-scale, national PR efforts, while the second focuses on targeting at-risk and underserved populations.

The FDA said the RFPs will be released on or before September 30. The resulting contracts will be with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

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