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Earnings

Kellogg and Special K Hope to Gain Profits by Losing the Weight Loss Message

special-k-cerealsWe’re all accustomed to the Special K ads that traditionally hit the airwaves during the fall and winter, urging us to stave off seasonal weight gain by eating cereal instead of huge meals or sweets, with taglines like: “What will you gain when you lose?”

Well, it seems Kellogg is about to answer its own question, but from a marketing standpoint.

Kellogg Co. CEO John Bryant said during an earnings call last Thursday that reduced-calorie messaging no longer resonates with consumers, referencing weaknesses with other similar food categories like diet sodas and reduced-calorie frozen meals. “I think consumers are changing their views on weight management from ‘reduce calories’ to ‘nutritious foods’,” he said. Special K can “absolutely meet that criteria…It’s a very nutrient-dense food form. But we haven’t been communicating it that way. So we are increasing our communication more down that path as opposed to reduce calories.” Read more

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STUDY: The 2013 Cost of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ Because Inflation

Source: Emag.co.uk

Ah, yes. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

That is, until it’s time to pay those damn bills. Then, you begin to consider actually moving to the North Pole because you can get some cheap real estate up there. Why? You are about to be evicted when the IRS comes knocking. (Gotta love those audits.)

Anywho, every year around this time, PNC Wealth Management gets their 15 seconds of fame. It’s well deserved because these are the capricious and inventive folk who post the annual Christmas Price Index, otherwise known as the “Real Cost of the 12 Days of Christmas.” And yes, it went up … againRead more

Smaller Specialty Firms Competing with the Biggest Names in PR

A recent story in Crain’s New York Business is of particular interest to us because it highlights a theoretical PR industry of the future in which specialization is the key to success.

As we all know, the recession led many big-name clients to take their PR operations in-house–and some of New York’s smaller, more ambitious firms responded by tailoring their services more specifically to businesses within certain fast-growing industries like health care, education and technology.

In short, while these blink-and-you’ll-miss-them firms aren’t yet established leaders of the PR pack, their portfolios filled with marquee clients, they are posting impressive revenue totals at time when many businesses have yet to loosen their recession-era belts.

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The PR Industry Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks!

What recession? Today in Always Look on the Bright Side news (thanks to Eric Idle): Despite a US economy that can’t seem to find its way out of the rabbit hole, the PR business is doing quite well, if we do say so ourselves.

While we can’t quite back up Everything PR’s prediction that the industry “may well be the barometer of hope many people are looking for,” revenues are clearly rising in 2012 with no slowdown in sight.

What changed? Well, after five years of declining recession-era budgets, businesses and public figures seem to have rediscovered their favorite hobby: spending lots of money to make themselves look good! In case you haven’t heard, corporate profits have emerged from the downturn in excellent health despite the fact that millions of Americans continue to struggle. It’s really common sense: An era producing record-low levels of trust in government, media and big business entities makes PR services more valuable than ever.

Now that you’ve got money to burn, you can pay for the full report here.

WPP Reports Seven Percent Increase in PR Revenues for Q1

In addition to all the hubbub about Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay, WPP also announced its earnings for the first four months of this year. Overall, revenue is up seven percent in British pounds to £3.2 billion, up nearly five percent in U.S. dollars to about about $5.1 billion, and up nearly 11 percent in Euros to €3.9 billion. Profits and operating margin are ahead of the budget.

PR and public affairs revenue was up seven percent. WPP PR firms include Ogilvy PRBurson-Marsteller, and Hill & Knowlton.

The company says 2012 is shaping up to be much like the previous two years but with less like-for-like growth. And 2013 looks to be even more challenging with the slow down in Europe and trouble on the horizon involving Iran. For more on the quarterly earnings, click here.

The company has also released its sustainability report for 2011. More about that here.

MDC Revenue Increases, But Reports Other Losses

MDC Partners reported Q1 revenue of about $236 million, an increase of 9.7 percent versus 2011. The company also reported organic growth of 5.4 percent. However, the company also reported a number of losses for the quarter.

Operating loss was at about $11.7 million versus a profit of $2.56 million year-over-year. Net loss was about $24.6 million compared with $7 million in 2011.

Adweek also notes the Q1 drop in EBITDA of 51 percent, from $15.4 million last year to $7.5 million this year. The company has purchased or taken a stake in a number of firms over the past couple of years, including Kwittken & Company, Allison+Partners, London’s Epoch PR, and ad agency Anomaly.

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Vocus’ Q1 Revenue, Operating Losses Increase

Vocus‘ Q1 earnings announcement shows a 29 percent year-over-year increase in GAAP revenue to $34.9 million. Non-GAAP revenue was up 31 percent to $35.5 million. GAAP operations losses totaled $10.4 million versus $3.1 million in 2011. Non-GAAP operations income was $854,000 versus $2.3 million in 2011.

In February 2012, Vocus acquired iContact for $169 million, which sent the company’s stock price lower, down from about $22 to $14. The stock price closed today at $13.25.

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WPP’s Like-For-Like PR Revenue Up 1.9 Percent

WPP reported a like-for-like revenue increase of 1.9 percent in the public relations and public affairs area for Q1 2012. Revenue for the sector totaled £225 million, or about $365.6 million. In constant currencies, that percentage goes up to 6.8 percent. The company said Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe showed the strongest growth. B-M this week announced leadership changes at Proof Integrated Communications and in its consumer and brand marketing practice.

Overall, that means PR and public affairs make up 9.4 percent of total revenue for the company.

Revenue for WPP as a whole totaled about £2.93 billion (about $4.76 billion), up 7.6 percent in pound sterling and 5.5 percent in U.S. dollars. Like-for-like revenue was up four percent.

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Updated: IPG Reports Revenue Gain, Net Loss of $45.9 Million

Interpublic Group, home to Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, and other PR and advertising agencies, reported first quarter revenue of $1.51 billion, an increase from $1.47 billion in 2011. Organic growth was 2.8 percent.

The company’s operating loss was $39.4 million, a decrease year-over-year from $45.3 million, showing improvement. Net loss was $45.9 million versus $48.1 million in 2011. The Wall Street Journal reports that  ”in February Standard & Poor’s raised its rating outlook on Interpublic to positive from stable, citing the company’s progress toward improving profitability and credit metrics.”

Harris Diamond, the CEO of IPG’s Constituency Management Group (CMG), housing the company’s PR firms, says its figures were strong with organic revenue at 8.6 percent and overall growth at 10 percent.

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Havas Reports ‘Robust’ Q1 New Business Figures, Struggles in Europe

Havas, home to firms including Abernathy McGregor GroupCake, and Euro RSCG Worldwide, reported 3.5 percent organic growth for Q1 2012 with revenue totaling €387 million (about $511 million by today’s conversion rates). That’s a year-over-year increase from €361 million in revenue.

The company called its new business results “robust” with that figure totaling €605 million (about $799 million) for the quarter. That far exceeds the new business number from 2011 – €384 million.

Even with the positive numbers, the results fall short of the competition. Havas’ European figures were sluggish with organic growth actually going negative in the U.K. and the rest of Europe, with the exception of France, its home turf.

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