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red lobster1

  • MWW will handle PR duties for Red Lobster, winning the account following the chain’s separation from parent company Darden. The company chose Publicis Kaplan Thaler as its new ad agency after announcing that split in July and picked MWW after a review (Edelman previously served as AOR). While the firm won’t handle social media, it will be responsible for corporate communications, executive visibility, issues management and brand positioning. As for why the company announced its new ad agency nearly two months before its new PR despite signing them at the same time, ask the guy above.

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Hill+Knowlton Hires New SF GM from the Tech World

H+K_Jodi BaumannWe think we might be witnessing a trend: Hill+Knowlton Strategies just announced the hiring of tech veteran Jodi Baumann to run both its San Francisco office and its global tech practice.

Baumann currently serves as senior director of global communications at NetApp, a Sunnydale storage/data company that just happened to appear on the Glassdoor list ranking the “top 25 American companies for culture and value” below Twitter, Edelman and others.

H+K Americas president/CEO Mike Coates gets right at Baumann’s appeal in the press release, writing, “she is so entrenched in both the technology space and the local San Francisco market.”

That’s the same reason that Ketchum acquired Access Communications in 2008 and named its president/CEO Susan Butenhoff to lead its own global tech practice last week.

It also reminded us of DKC PR’s decision to hire AdAge tech reporter/San Francisco bureau chief Cotton Delo as account supervisor back in June.

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Which 15 Firms Made the Inc. 5000 List?

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First: a Happy Summer Friday to everyone.

We here at PRNewser don’t really like to facilitate competition among our friends and associates in the industry. And we don’t generally post on firms winning awards because, you know, that’s kind of your job.

You know what we do like, though? Lists. Everyone likes lists!

When it comes to businesses, a spot in the Inc. 5000 is like the “my kid is an honor student at X Middle School” bumper sticker you can put on your agency van to remind everyone that you’ve done a pretty good job as a parent. We get it — we once wrote those releases ourselves.

Since we’ve gotten a few emails about the newly released Inc. list for 2014, we figured we’d do a bit of reading and rank the firms that scored a spot in the (reverse) order in which they appear.

Not to encourage competition, remember…

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Spin the Agencies of Record

COLLEGE

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Brooklyn Firm Works for Free to Attract Top Talent

Praytell

Today Brooklyn-based boutique firm Praytell Strategies announced the launch of its Passion Project, in which the company will offer up to $30,000 in varied services to non-profit applicants each quarter.

Of course all agencies are familiar with the benefits of pro-bono work in terms of building on reputation, expanding client rosters and scoring a few media mentions.

The Praytell project, though, is unique in a few ways — first being that it was inspired by the work of the MAC AIDS Fund (a Praytell client).

We spoke to founder/CEO Andy Pray to find out more.

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Ketchum Shuffles Its Tech Leadership

ketchum_logoIn what looks like a strong pivot toward the tech sector, Ketchum orchestrated a game of musical chairs involving several top executives within its San Francisco-based Access Communications shop and its Global Technology Practice this week.

Partner Susan Butenhoff, who founded Access and served as both president and CEO there until this week, will now serve as director of the firm’s tech practice while retaining the title of chief at Access.

Matthew Afflixio, who worked under her as EVP/creative director, has been promoted to president.

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Cinnabon Doesn’t Need Advertising; Good Marketing and Branding Are Enough

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Today’s conventional wisdom would suggest that aggressively expanding a brand solely focused on a singular sugary baked good is folly. Cinnabon isn’t quite the ill-fated Crumbs, despite some similarities, and President Kat Cole has been aiming high:

  • “We’re building the world’s greatest brand,” she told Nation’s Restaurant News.
  • “Eventually it will end up in the bucket with brands like Oreo and Hershey,” she told Forbes.

Indeed 2013 was a busy (and profitable) year for Cinnabon; the chain added 110 new locations, bringing its total now up to nearly 1,200 and saw $1 billion in retail product sales from all divisions worldwide, including franchising, consumer package goods and food-service licensed products.

It also spent only $33,000 in advertising.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

Hong Kong

  • Santa Monica firm Phelps will be social media marketing AOR for the U.S. wing of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, using the group’s social networks to promote “Asia’s World City” as an American travel destination.

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Q&A: Top Firms Expanding into the Asia Pacific Region

World Map

It’s not exactly news that the Asia Pacific region is one of the biggest opportunities for international firms looking to expand and serve a more global audience. Allison + Partners recently opened an office in Singapore while firms like Edelman and Ogilvy have maintained a presence in China for some time.

Still, much of the market remains untapped by top Western firms, and the act of reaching the billions of consumers living in the Asia Pacific region presents significant challenges for many US-based organizations.

Siegel+Gale recently announced a partnership with Gramco, Japan’s largest branding firm, in the interest of better serving the Chinese public.

We spoke to Jason Cieslak, president of Siegel+Gale’s Pacific Rim operations, to get his take on the trend.

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MWW Names New Chief Strategy Officer

Mww_logo

New York/New Jersey firm MWW announced the hiring of Jess Seilheimer as Chief Strategy Officer.

Seilheimer, who previously served as SVP of digital innovation/strategic planning at Havas, brings more than 15 years of agency experience to the new role.

After leaving Havas, Seilheimer founded the consulting group Cretegic, where she advised startups and other digital businesses on “accelerating strategic planning”; at MWW she will oversee strategic planning and marketing communications strategies across clients.

In addition to her agency history, Seilheimer has contributed to various publications covering the tech and startup worlds and served as an ambassador for SocialMediaWeekNYC.

She will report directly to MWW founder/CEO Michael Kempner.

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