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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Oct. 22, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 42 (download PDF version)

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California is reviewing its $9M public education, outreach and rail safety education program touting passenger rail and bus service in the Golden State with an open RFP process this month.

The Sacramento-based California Dept. of Transportation, known as Caltrans, tabs the campaign mainly to support Amtrak California, including its San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner rail lines and bus routes. The San Joaquin line, which has increased ridership to top 1M annually in recent years, is fifth in the country for riders.

The Pacific Surfliner was re-branded from the San Diegan in 2000 and serves in the No. 2 busiest rail corridor in the country, but it competes with local commuter rail. Ridership has declined in recent months after rising to top 2.7M in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Advertising, PR, websites/social media are all covered by the sweeping pact, which could include multiple agencies. On the PR front, an agency is expected to develop an overall PR plan to increase Amtrak California ridership and revenue, especially on underperforming routes. Events, press conferences and releases, blog posts and other content, and development of “tiein” trips for events like Comic-Con and the Coachella music festival fall under PR, as well. Its “Be Track Smart” campaign targets kids about rail safety with PSAs and other outreach.

The Glass Agency, Sacramento, is the incumbent.

Proposals are due Nov. 2. RFP:


Porter Novelli global director of health Susan Hayes has left the firm for an advance role with President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Hayes, who was at PN from 1996-2002, re-joined the Omnicom firm in 2010 and was named to the global health post in May 2011.

Earlier stints included Cooney Waters Group and Ogilvy PR, in addition to running her own PR consulting shop for eight years.

PN, which works with the Internal Revenue Service and Dept. of Health and Human Services among its government clients, didn’t comment on the departure. Julie Winskie, to whom Hayes reported, left the firm in January.


Omnicom reported both flat income ($203.9M) and revenues ($3.4B) on Oct. 16 as the continued economic doldrums hurt its overseas, telecom, travel/entertainment and healthcare sectors.

Strong performances were turned in by the auto (+12.6 percent), retail (+8.4 percent) and technology (+5.6 percent) groups.

OMC’s Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Kreab Gavin Anderson and Porter Novelli-led PR operation managed to advance 0.5 percent to $313.8M during the period, and three percent for the nine-month period to $942.9M.

The advertising unit registered a 2.4 percent Q3 growth rate and 4.6 percent for the year.

So far this year, CEO John Wren has shelled out $85.6M for acquisitions, $62.3M for earn-outs and $19.2M for increased equity stakes in affiliated companies.

Joining the ad/PR holding company during the just-closed out period were NIM Digital (China), Face to Face Communications (German healthcare outfit), Chameleon Communications (British medical communications firm) and Philippe Becker Design (San Francisco brand consultant).


Toyota, which is in the midst of a massive 7.5M car recall, has hired BGR Government Affairs to provide guidance on federal, regulatory and administrative actions on energy, technology, manufacturing, tax and safety issues.

A faulty door switch that could lead to car fires is the Japanese automaker’s biggest recall since the sudden acceleration recalls of 2009 and 2010.

USA Today (Oct. 11) reported that the recall, which includes 2.5M cars in the U.S, is a “new black eye” for the company and “another blemish on Toyota’s reputation for quality.”

BGR has rolled out the heavy guns for Toyota. That team includes Haley Barbour (former Mississippi Governor and Republican party bigwig), Loren Monroe (aide to former New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici), Erskine Wells (ex-deputy chief of staff for Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker), Jennifer Larkin Lukawski (legislative director for former Congressman Bob Dornan), Russell Roberts (ex-chief of staff to Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) and Jonathan Mantz (national finance director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run).

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