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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Dec. 3, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 48 (download PDF version)

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Maryland, which has opted to create a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, has kicked off a competitive pitch process to guide communications and marketing for the exchange.

The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange released an RFP on Nov. 15 open through Dec. 12.

O’Malley signing the bill in April 2011.

Last year, Maryland hired Weber Shandwick for a PR and advertising study, following an RFP after Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to create an exchange in 2011.

WS produced a 159-page report with its KRC Research unit outlining recommendations for the exchange’s PR and advertising efforts.

The exchange wants an agency to plan, develop, design and execute an integrated campaign informing and educating the public and small businesses about the endeavor and health coverage options available. Social media, PR, community outreach and PSA development are included in the scope of work.

The federal government is funding such PR efforts under a provision of the ACA.

A 23-month contract is expected to begin on Jan. 15, 2013. About $2M will be available to buy advertising time.

Firms must have a presence within 100 miles of Baltimore and experience with statewide marketing, outreach and education campaigns for healthcare programs.

Maryland’s exchange is expected to be operating by October 2013. The state claims an uninsured population of about 740K.

View the RFP:


Congressman Heath Shuler, the North Carolina Democrat who did not stand for re-election, will join Duke Energy as senior VP-federal affairs on Jan. 4, which is the day after his term expires.

The former quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins founded a real estate company in Tennessee before being elected to Congress in 2007.

Keith Trent, executive VP-regulated utilities, said Shuler is “well-known in Washington is well known for working with leaders from both political parties.”

Shuler will be based in Washington.

Charlotte-based Duke has been in the news due to the upcoming resignation of its high-profile CEO Jim Rogers at the end of next year.

Rogers is stepping down as part of a deal with Carolina regulators, who probed Duke’s acquisition of Progress Energy.

Under the merger deal, Progress CEO Bill Johnson was to helm the combined companies. Duke’s board, however, fired Johnson with the completion of the July merger.

Duke is the largest electric utility in the U.S.


Jennifer Cohan, managing director at GolinHarris who has handled accounts like Olympus, Unilever and McDonald’s in a 20-year career, will jump to Edelman early next year to chair its linchpin global consumer practice.

Based in New York, she takes the Edelman post vacated by Christina Smedley, who left for the VP, global communications, slot at PayPal in October.

Cohan oversees GH/New York’s strategic direction and operations and handles accounts.

She previously led Cohn & Wolfe’s New York consumer unit and was deputy managing director at Cohn & Wolfe/London.

Cohan will report to Alan VanderMolen, president and CEO of global practices for Edelman.

Dove, Trojan and Starbucks are among Edelman’s consumer clients. The practice has 887 staffers and consistes of 27% of the firm’s overall revenue, which topped $600M last year.


Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services division, which houses its PR firms, has acquired co-creation consultancy Promise Corp.

OMC said it plans to integrate the London and New York-based operation into its Communispace online insight firm, which uses online communities to gauge customers’ opinions and was acquired by OMC last year.

Co-creation involves companies reaching out to consumers and other outsiders to collaborate on product and service development.

OMC says the combination of the firms offers major brands the chance to engage audiences continuously and strategically on business issues.

“We have been watching Promise for years, as they have mastered co-creation and helped executives act intelligently based on what they learned from consumers,” Communispace president and CEO Diane Hessan said in a statement.

Omnicom’s DAS division includes firms like Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Mercury and Fleishman-Hillard.


Rich Bamberger, who stepped down as spokesperson for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last month, has joined M Public Affairs. He also handled PR for Cuomo when he served as state attorney general.

The former managing editor of both “Inside Edition,” and Channel 2 News is reuniting with Maggie Moran, CEO of MPA and senior advisor of Cuomo’s 2010 run for chief politico in the Empire State.

Democratic heavyweight Moran was New Jersey campaign manager for Al Gore’s presidential run, director of rapid response for President Bill Clinton in 1996, and manager of Jon Corzine’s and Jim McGreevey’s races for governor of N.J.

Her firm is a unit of ASGK Public Strategies, which was founded by President Obama’s political guru David Axelrod.

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