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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - May 21, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 21 (download PDF version)

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The United Nations’ political office in Somalia is reaching out to vendors to develop a PR campaign supporting its anti-piracy endeavors.

Somali pirates
Somali pirates shown in an undated UN photo.

The U.N. wants to influence public opinion in South Central Somalia and among refugees in Kenya against pirates by highlighting the dangers and problems associated with piracy.

Pirates have become an international scourge after costing business and law enforcement an estimated $7 billion in 2010.

The U.N.’s International Maritime Organization said the Somali coast saw an increase from 219 attacks in 2010 to 237 last year, although the number of vessels hijacked fell to 28 from 49 as shipping companies employed private security contractors with occasional controversy.

U.S. snipers famously took out three Somali pirates to rescue an American cargo ship captain in 2009.

The U.N. this month issued a “request for expression of interest” (open through May 23) for a firm to develop a strategic communications and advocacy campaign in support of its counter piracy efforts.

“The contracting company will have the responsibility to define, manage and implement a broad-based counter piracy campaign to promote a negative view of pirates and piracy gains through widespread advocacy in partnership with Somali elders, government and religious leaders and the media over an 18-month period,” reads the document.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government for the past 20 years, notes the U.N. The European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and U.N. member states patrol Somali waters.


Patton Boggs has signed up Temasek Holdings Ltd., which is Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund with global assets of more than $193B.

The D.C. firm is to counsel Temasek on developments in the “trans-pacific partnership,” according to its engagement letter.

PB partners Frank Samolis and Joseph Brand counsel Temasek under the three-month deal, worth $90K. The pact is renewable for another three-month period at Temasek's option for the fixed monthly fee of $30K.

Temasek’s North America chief is Gregory Curl. He was BankAmerica’s vice chairman/corporate development and chief risk officer before joining Singapore’s investment arm in 2010.

In April, Temasek made news by purchasing a portion of Goldman Sachs’ stake in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for $2.3B.

ICBC, one of China’s Big Four state-owned banks, claims to be the world's No. 1 bank ranked by overall profit and market capitalization.


Fast food chain Arby’s is mobilizing a crisis response after a Michigan teenager found a fingertip in a roast beef sandwich last week.

John Gray, senior VP of corporate communications and PR, said in a statement that the company is “deeply concerned and apologetic,” while adding that it was an “isolated and unfortunate incident” in a franchisee’s eatery. He said the restaurant was shut down and sanitized after the accident came to light.

A restaurant employee reportedly cut off her finger tip with a meat slicer and left to get medical attention as employees continued to run the eatery, according to the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

The story has since been picked up by national outlets like Yahoo! News, Huffington Post, USA Today and the Associated Press.

“Arby’s wants to reassure customers that we are committed to providing quality food in a safe and healthy environment,” said Gray.

Hunter PR works with Arby’s.


Jack Deschauer, an 11-year veteran of Qorvis Communications, has moved to Levick Strategic Communications in Washington as a VP.

At Qorvis, Deschauer helped Pratt & Whitney fend off the "zombie engine" issue as the Pentagon pursued an alternate engine by GE and Rolls Royce for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. He also worked crises for former NBA star Jayson Williams and Run-DMC.

CEO Richard Levick said Deschauer knows how to build communities from the ground up. “He knows how companies leverage communities of support to reach their public policy goals,” said Levick.


The Canadian government-backed organization focused on cancer control is screening for a media relations agency of record, as well as firms or individuals to support its communications efforts.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, founded in 2007 as an independent organization with $250M in government funding over five years, has released two RFPs for the assignments open through the end of the month. The organization has not previously tapped an agency of record, working instead with firms on a project basis.

The CPAC’s efforts focus on cancer prevention and screening targeting the Canadian public with about 80 percent outreach in English and 20 percent in French.

While it doesn't set a hard budget figure, the group said its AOR will be called on for an average of four to six media relations assignments per year with budgets topping out at $100K.

Proposals for the AOR contract are due May 23.

A second RFP calls for communications project support for the group's PR efforts. Pitches for that work are due May 29.

The CPAC was founded with a five-year mandate through 2012 to assess whether the model was effective for cancer control in Canada.



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