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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Jun. 18, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 25 (download PDF version)

Page 7 Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8


Prestigious Horace Mann School, where high school tuition hovers around the $40K mark, turned to Kekst and Company to respond to the blockbuster New York Times story about former teachers allegedly sexually abusing students there.

Horace Mann

The story ran as the NYT June 10 magazine cover after it was posted earlier on the paper’s website.

In researching the story, author and HMS graduate Amos Kamil contacted Tom Kelly, current headmaster, many times before receiving a replay from Kekst, according to the piece.

That statement said that “as an educational institution, we are deeply concerned if allegations of abuse of children are raised, regardless of when or when they may have occurred.”

It also noted that current leadership is not in the position to comment of events involving former and, in some cases now deceased, faculty members."

HMS released a letter to alumni, published on its website, in which Kelly promised to “develop and implement a thoughtful process that places the first priority on those alumni most in need.”

The trustees will soon meet to discuss the abuse matter.

Kekst & Co., which is part of Publicis Groupe, has advised the Bronx-based school for several years, a staffer told O’Dwyer’s.


Ogilvy PR has won a five-way competitive pitch to guide U.S. PR for Avigilon, the publicly traded, Vancouver-based video surveillance company which produces technology like facial and license plate recognition software and high-definition imaging.


Avigilon, which raised $25M in an October initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, previously worked with Edelman/Canada.

Angela St. Amour, communications manager for Avigilon, told O’Dwyer’s the company ended its relationship with Edelman in the first quarter and now works with Peak Communicators in Canada.

Ogilvy’s San Francisco tech practice heads the work, which includes media relations, product PR, corporate communications and thought leadership.

Avigilon’s technology is deployed for security at places like Target Field in Minneapolis, Slovnaft Arena in the Slovak Republic, and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, to name a few.

First quarter revenue was $17.8M, up 77% over Q1 of 2011, as net income rose to $600K.


Creston, the U.K.-based communications holding company, posted an 11 percent gain in revenue to 74.9M pounds for the fiscal year ended March 31, boosted by its healthcare sector PR acquisitions of Cooney/Waters and The Corkery Group.

Profit after tax was flat at 7.5M.

Among its three divisions, communications rose five percent to 43M, health jumped 53% on its Corkery and Cooney/Waters deals, and insight (marketing research) declined seven percent to 13.8M.

“Naturally, we remain cautious in these challenging macro-economic conditions,” said CEO Don Elgie, who added that Creston is confident in its strategy of focusing digital and other high-growth areas, as well as international expansion to serve blue chip clients.

Creston said a revenue shortfall in the fourth quarter was caused by fewer new business wins and reduced client budgets, adding that reductions were made that caused a restructuring charge of 1.8M pounds. The moves were expected to save 3.1M pounds.

Uncertainty over healthcare reform in the U.S. and reduced spending in the healthcare sector saw revenue decline in the space, but Elgie said the long-term fundamentals are good in the U.S. and U.K.

Creston paid $6M to add Corkery to Cooney/Waters in November but earn-outs are slated for 2013 and 2015 which are expected to fall in the $5M realm with another $1.8M likely in payments to “key employees.”

PR clients of Creston include HTC, BBC and GSK.


The 30-year-old global microfinance network for women which once employed President Barack Obama’s mother is on the hunt for a PR firm to elevate its profile in the U.S. and abroad as the “voice for women's financial security in underdeveloped countries.”

Womens World Banking

Womens World Banking released an RFP June 13 for a multi-year contract to burnish its network of 39 institutions in 27 countries like Ethiopia, Peru, Bangladesh and Tunisia. The New York-based non-profit says it represents 27M clients, 80% of whom are women.

Microfinance involves lending relatively small sums as low as $100 to low-income entrepreneurs typically excluded from the formal banking sector. The organization seeks strategic communications counsel, a PR program to raise its profile, thought leadership, brand “relaunch” support, and media relations.

Ann Dunham Soetoro, President Obama's mother, was policy coordinator for WWB starting in 1992.

Proposals are due July 6. The RFP can be viewed at

Julie Slama heads communications for WWB. Kay Madati, entertainment strategy lead for Facebook and a marketing vet of CNN and BMW, is on the group’s board.

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