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Jason Chupick

Peter Shankman Leaves Vocus and HARO Behind

Consultant/speaker/PR expert Peter Shankman has announced that he will no longer be associated with journalist-to-source matching service HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which he created less than five years ago. He will leave Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS)–the company that acquired HARO in 2010–at the end of March.

According to an email to PRNewser, Shankman will continue his speaking schedule–he will be “doing some high-level consulting on some major brands in the customer service/marketing arena” as he awaits the birth of his first child and prepares for the coming launch of his third book, Nice Companies Finish First.

To review: like all good publicists who understand relationship equity, Shankman often helped journalists find sources even when he had no dog in the fight. As Facebook attained liftoff in 2008, Shankman created a group to help journalists crowdsource their needs by submitting queries for PR pros to refer them to experts on given topics. It was similar to the older, staid Profnet, but it was free–and Shankman employed his Karmic rules to keep the desperate, spammy flacks away from his media subscribers.

HARO quickly outgrew Facebook’s ceiling at the time, and Shankman adjusted, moving the membership to a sign-up site HelpAReporter.com and ostensibly turning his network into a business.

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ASGK Acquires Plesser Holland

ASGK Public Strategies

ASGK Public Strategies, founded by former White House advisor David Axelrod and Eric Sedler, has acquired most of Plesser Holland Associates. New York-based boutique Plesser Holland was founded by former Rubenstein exec Andy Plesser in 1992. Plesser’s longtime right hand Kent Holland became a partner in 2005.

Plesser launched a video blog and consultancy called Beet.tv in 2006, while Holland relocated to Washington, DC to focus on the core PR offerings for existing clients in the higher education, financial services and technology sectors.

ASGK  Managing Partner Eric Sedler said, “Kent’s exceptional media relations skills and client base were very attractive to us. We saw lots areas where Kent could enhance our firm’s work.”

The terms of the deal are undisclosed. Holland becomes Managing Director; he will continue to manage the accounts absorbed by ASGK including CNET, the Villanova School of Business, and Butler University.

(Disclosure: The author was employed by Plesser Holland from 2000-2006.)

Free Drinks for the Entitled via Sunshine Sachs

As they do each year, the folks at Sunshine Sachs–the biggest firm with no public profile–used a news tie-in as the hook on their holiday invite: “100% of you are invited | 47% of you like free alcohol enough to come”.  Six years after this blog began, Ken Sunshine and his partner Shawn Sachs still don’t have a website–and only the latter Tweets sporadically.

‘Tis appropriate that the firm with Democratic party roots chose to use the Mitt Romney hook as its own, though we hear the current client base is fully diversified to extend beyond the original politics-and-celebrities two-step.

And as is tradition, every member of the staff gets to invite who they want–and receives a mention on the invitation. Some quick math tells us the firm is indeed still growing. This year they’ve added 14% to the headcount. Not bad considering the invite showed 50 percent and 29 percent growth in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Attention’s GIFerrific Holiday Greeting

Social media firm Attention uses this year’s holiday card to pay tribute to the attention-starved with a Holiday GIF Guide (haha). Chock full of Schadenfreudic pet and human escapades, this curated fandango has something for everyone. Here’s a GIF utilizing the firm’s whole staff a la The Barbarian Group to send a cautionary message about snack food.

Hey, GIF is the Word of the Year, after all.

PSA: Accidental Death Is So Damn Cute

Today in Things You Should Probably Remember News:

  • Don’t bother bears, drug dealers, or wasps.
  • Don’t tempt piranhas, serial killers, or rattle snakes.
  • Don’t eat rancid things or take bad medicine.

The Melbourne Metro just issued an almost unbearably cute cartoon PSA starring bean-shaped characters who die in these and other adorable ways. Their point? Don’t mess with trains. The spot’s folksy song, written by McCann executive creative director John Mescall, is catchy enough to stick with you all day–and it’s free on Metro’s accompanying website, DumbWaysToDie.

Why did the Metro feel the need to make this precious, violent PSA? According to a writeup by local affiliate WTVR, Australia’s second-largest city does not suffer from a shortage of stupidity:

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Nike (Finally) Drops Lance Armstrong

Looks like public opinion has turned decisively against Lance Armstrong. According to a statement issued today, prime sponsor Nike (NYSE: NKE) officially terminated its contract with the cycling star.

Nike’s reversal of support for the embattled biker came after a report released yesterday indicated thatKathy LeMond–wife of that other American cycling legend Greg LeMond–testified under oath that, in a separate suit filed against Armstrong in 2006, Nike coughed up a $500,000 payoff to former Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) president Hein Verbruggen in order to cover up a positive Armstrong drug test.

Another day, another aftershock stemming from the reams of evidence made public by the USADA.

One bit of silver lining in this dark cloud: the sporting goods behemoth (and extremely spendy sponsor of countless athletes and causes) will continue supporting Lance’s Livestrong foundation: Read more

Lance Armstrong Doping Gambit: Blame Big Tobacco

Bonked. Cooked. Whatever bike racing term you use, it now applies to the reputation of Lance Armstrong and, more sadly, to the reputation of his 15-year-old cancer advocacy organization, The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF, or Livestrong).

Today the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a statement and a collection of documents detailing the extent of its conspiracy investigation against Armstrong, the entirety of which is to be sent to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the governing body that oversees the Tour de France.

That’s not to say Armstrong isn’t attempting to fight back: Just this morning, USA Today reported that lawyer Tim Herman sent a letter to the USADA as an obvious “see what sticks” damage control tactic, writing: “This reasoned decision will be a farce, written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco’s favorite law firms at a time when Lance Armstrong is one of America’s leading anti-tobacco advocates. While USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig.”

That’s a bit of a wild conspiracy theory there, no?

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Ferris U.’s Racist Memorabilia Museum Designed to Spark Dialogue

The small Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris University is generating a good deal of publicity, for good reason.  The massive collection of not-so-distant artifacts from America’s racist past are in one place, in your face, for the purpose of promoting discussion.

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The Ticker: O’Reilly re-signs; Google Drive; Clickthroughs; Social brands; Planet Daily

The Ticker: Crisis PR; Craig Newmark loves squirrels; Wal-Mart in China; Young dudes & paywalls; ‘Awkward Black Girl’

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