Dan Edelman
Dan Edelman

Dan Edelman’s firm has come a long way since going to work in 1952 for its first client, Toni Home Permanent Co., as it is poised to be the first PR firm to crack the $1B annual revenues mark under the leadership of his son, Richard.

In 1948, Dan became the first PR director of THPC, came up with the idea of the Toni Twins (e.g. guess which twin useas the Toni and who went to the hairdresser) and invented the idea of the media tour as he shepherded various sets of twins across the country.

He struck a PR gusher in Tulsa, where the twins were arrested for practicing cosmetology without a license. Dan bailed them out of jail and flew them to New York for an appearance on the “Today” show. The rest is history.

Richard Edelman recorded a robust 17.2 percent rise in revenues to $984.9M for 2021. The US was up 15.5 percent to $613.2M, while the EMEA region rose 23.1 percent to $209.2M.

Edelman had come close to the $1B mark in 2017, chalking up revenues of $893.6M. Its performance slipped 0.6 percent in 2018 to $888.4M and the firm clawed out a 0.4 percent gain to $892M in 2019.

COVID-19 took a toll on the No. 1 independent firm’s 2020 revenues as they fell 5.8 percent to $840M.

The shop entered 2022 with a full head of steam, adding major wins such as Avis Budget Group in the US, FedEx in Latin America, Tinder in EMEA and MediaTek in APAC.

Edelman also refortified its ranks, adding more than 800 staffers in 2021. The firm had cut nearly 500 people during 2020 as its year-end employment level stood at 5,143 vs. 5,616 in 2019.

It took Edelman 70 years to crack the $1B mark. My hunch is that it may take a decade or so to break the $2B mark.

Tone-deaf to PR. In his Feb. 8 note that announced the firing of about 2,800 employees, Peloton co-founder John Foley thought it was appropriate to give a special shout out to his wife.

He wrote:

“Jill Foley will be transitioning from her role as VP of Apparel in the coming months. Jill has been with Peloton since its inception. She founded and built our incredible Apparel business from the ground up. We are all very proud and grateful to Jill and the team that has helped her develop that sector of our business into what it is today.

Blackwells Capital, the activist fund pushing the sale of Peloton, has questioned whether Jill Foley is the right person to run the apparel business or “just the person closest to Mr. Foley.”

There is no word on whether Jill will be receiving a one-year free subscription to Peloton after she exits like other former employees.

Remember Hong Kong?… As China basks in the coverage of the Beijing Olympics, the Media Freedom Coalition released a statement on Feb. 8 expressing its deep concern over the near elimination of the free press in Hong Kong.

That statement follows the raid on the offices of Stand News, arrests of its staff and the self-shutdown of Citizen News because it was worried about the safety of its workers.

The MFC mourned the “near-complete disappearance of local independent media outlets” in Hong Kong since the passing of the National Security Law in June 2020.

It said global confidence in Hong Kong’s reputation has been undermined “by the suppression of human rights, freedom of speech and free flow and exchange of opinions and information.”

The statement was signed by the governments of the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK, Finland, Austria and Czech Republic.