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Edelman Goes Bipartisan, Hires Two Ex-Senators

D and R

Turns out that the members of our country’s major “lesser of two evils” political parties can agree on a shared love of two things: golf and lobbying.

Today Edelman announced that it had hired former senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) as advisors. What does that mean?

Edelman created the new roles specifically for the two one-time lawmakers, who will “provide public policy and communications advice” to clients. Gregg himself told The Hill that he aims to help give members of the Edelman roster “a better understanding of Congress.”

Conrad and Gregg previously worked together on the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan fiscal reform group convened by President Obama that couldn’t even manage to approve its own proposal; they now count themselves as members of a similar group called Fix The Debt, alternately known as Slash Your Social Security Benefits.

For the record, the duo do not technically qualify as lobbyists in their new roles: they will not be helping congressmen figure out how to make the laws that pander most directly to the interests of the industries that hired them.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

shutterstock_170818313

  • Formula PR will handle Dunkin’ Donuts’ planned California expansion with a one-year contract as reported in PR Week today. RF|Binder will retain its position as AOR for the chain on the national level as well as in the New York/Boston markets, but Formula beat out seven other firms to win the regional job. The firm will provide “boots on the ground” while the client will presumably hand out after-work treats.

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Survey Says Clients Trust Ad, Marketing Agencies Over PR Firms

YOUR AD HERE

We don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but a recent survey of in-house marketers conducted by Marketing Week and Weber Shandwick tells us that, when asked to name a “primary strategic partner”, far more clients chose their ad and marketing agencies than their PR firms. Here’s a mixed-message quote:

“More than five times as many marketers say PR agencies are losing ground as say they are gaining ground on other specialisms. There is good news too for the discipline. Respondents agree that PR agencies take the lead on messaging and are a strategic partner, and that reputation management is crucial in a digital world.”

The news could be worse, though–and it is far worse for social media agencies.

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UK Firm Goes to Outer Space and Back to Announce Rebranding

Today we learned that a service apparently allows users to send objects into space and film them there for YouTube-ready clips. We also learned that the UK’s Houston PR (nee Twelve Thirty Eight) used the service to highlight the World’s Highest Press Release as it hovered 27 miles above the planet.

It’s a pretty cool way to announce a name change.

Unfortunately–as our own Shawn Paul Wood showed us yesterday–the myths about our ability to make such clips “go viral” are just that (especially when said clips do not involve Walter White bobbleheads or George Takei action figures carrying gay pride flags).

The stunt is certainly fun–but Houston, we may have a problem with the font size…

(H/T AdRants)

Roll Call: Ruder Finn, Edelman, RLM Finsbury, And More

Ruder Finn announced several new additions to its global healthcare leadership team:

  • Elyse Margolis was promoted to the position of executive vice president/director, New York Healthcare, where she will continue to serve as client service leader for accounts as well as assuming new responsibilities for the New York team.
  • Trina Chiara was named executive vice president/director, Global Healthcare Business Development. Chiara, who previously served as an NPR reporter for a decade, will both oversee current clients and identify new business opportunities in the healthcare field.
  • Rob Schachter has been promoted to the position of executive vice President, global Healthcare. As a Ruder Finn employee for the past eight years, he handled global franchise portfolios for multiple clients.
  • Glenn Silver joined the practice as senior vice president, Healthcare Media Relations. He will counsel the firm’s extensive list of pharmaceutical clients.
  • Christine Hanson will now serve as senior vice president, Global Healthcare. Hanson, who worked at Manning Selvage and Lee and Danielides Communications, Inc. before joining Ruder Finn, recently managed several high-profile campaigns including one for Novartis’ Bexsero MenB Vaccine. (Release)

Edelman Seattle announced the appointment of Michael Thomas to the SVP role for its technology team. Thomas, who previously served as VP at Edelman’s Chicago office, brings more than a decade of counselling experience in the tech and health sectors to the role; her past clients include GridApp (acquired by BMC Software), Redback Networks (acquired by Ericsson), Opsware (acquired by HP), CrowdControl for Amazon Mechanical Turk, Code Green Networks, Skytap, Fortress Grand, Twisted Pair Solutions and others.

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New SHIFT Communications EVP Scott Monty on the Future of PR

ScottMontyWe’ll make a wild guess and assume that, if you work anywhere in communications, you heard the big news this morning: Scott Monty, former head of social for Ford Motor Company, joined Boston-based SHIFT Communications as EVP of strategy (he even has his own URL).

The announcement received mentions in trade pubs from Adweek to Automotive News and even inspired a bit of good-humored hashtaggery:

Scott elaborated on the #MontyDecision on his personal blog this morning, but he and SHIFT CEO Todd Defren also talked to us about the logic behind the move and their shared vision for the future of the comms industry.

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More on White House ‘TV Whisperer’ Joining Burson-Marsteller

Dag VegaThanks to Politico, we had the news about former White House “TV Whisperer” Dag Vega leaving the Obama administration to go the PR route several days ago. Now we have the press release.

First: Vega will be managing director of Burson-Marsteller’s Washington, D.C. office effective August 4th, and he will report to Ann Davison, U.S. Chair of Public Affairs & Crisis Practice who joined the firm last month, as well as Jano Cabrera, worldwide executive vice president.

Thanks to a Politico exclusive, we also know that Friday will be his last day at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that he will take a vacation in Puerto Rico before starting the new gig.

What did Vega do at the White House?

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Spin the Agencies of Record

Bangkok

  • Cohn & Wolfe opened a new, wholly-owned office in Bangkok, Thailand in order to “offer full coverage across Southeast Asia in advance of the much-anticipated official formation of the ASEAN Economic Community”. Doug Buemi, vice chairman and regional director for Asia Pacific, will lead the office, which will focus on digital and social media for both consumer and B2B clients.

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Does Size Matter? 5 Differences Between Big and Boutique PR Firms

PR highway

Public relations is full of many things, stereotypes being one of them.

However, when a nubile flack is fresh out of college (or even the newsroom making the switch these days), there is one thing to consider. This one quandary has PR hopefuls in the agency world so perplexed that they choose in-house because they aren’t sure which way to go.

Do I apply at a major PR firm or one of those boutique agencies? 

I never understood why this is such a conflicting decision because PR “happened” to me. (Long story. Tell ya’ later sometime.) Now that I have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, and put my name on it just in case, I get it. There are differences, many of which are subjective. Others are objective. Both types have their definite advantages and drawbacks, but both are rewarding.

Here is this week’s listicle of 5 Things: 5 differences between big and boutique PR firms.

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Ecuador Gave Two U.S. Firms $6.4M to Protect Its Reputation

Ecuador

Here’s a quick take on news you may have missed: the country of Ecuador has a whole lot of money to spend on reputation management.

$6.4 million over 12 months, to be exact.

Documents released by the Justice Department yesterday confirmed that New York’s mcSQUARED and Washington’s Fitzgibbon Media have been partnering on lobbying work for the country since late 2013. This announcement came a couple of weeks after the conservative Washington Free Beacon effectively accused mcSQUARED of ethics violations for listing the country as a client while failing to disclose the nature of the contract to the U.S. government.

Like so many conflicts around the world, this one is all about oil.

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