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Edelman

CVS Health Changes Name, Kicks Tobacco for More Than #OneGoodReason

Go big or go home!

Cigarettes are notably absent on the shelves of 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores today — a month earlier than expected. In their stead comes a new name (CVS Health), a new tagline (“Health is Everything”) and a new raison d’être: changing the future health of Americans for the better. (And of course a new social media campaign, #OneGoodReason.)

And yes, smoking is still a problem: 18 percent of American adults do it, and 480,000 deaths a year may be directly attributed to the nasty habit.

For Larry Merlo, president and CEO, the sale of tobacco products became inconsistent with the purpose of the company, which now boasts 900 walk-in clinics and a large pharmacy benefit management company, known as CVS/Caremark.

“Changing the name catches up with what we have been doing,” Merlo told Forbes.

It also changes the bottom line. Read more

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Public Relations

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#PRWin for Edelman: Named No. 2 in ‘Culture and Values’ Poll Behind Twitter

edelmaninternsTo call Edelman’s summer “eventful” would be putting it mildly. Following a tandem of misjudgments and bad press involving climate change and Robin Williams, the agency announced (in The New York Times, no less) that they will now officially consider themselves “a client.”

You might think that employee morale could take a hit in a case like this one, but good places to work generally remain good places to work. The most recent “best places to work” piece from GlassDoor confirms this fact beyond what we personally know about Edelman and some of the stellar people who work there.

In short, GlassDoor.com just released its “2014 Top Companies for Culture and Values” — and Edelman beat everyone in culture and values except this little known start-up called Twitter.

In the world of business, this is called “a good rebound.”

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What We Should All Learn From Edelman’s Commitment to Become Its Own Client

Edelman ReputationEdelman PR has been in a bad way lately — not for their client outreach efforts but for what they have done to themselves.

First, the global independent juggernaut caused a small kerfuffle by taking a stance against all those pesky “climate change skeptics.” Given their ardent statements of commitment to the cause, this didn’t go over too well.

Then, the agency thought that using Robin William’s unfortunate death to start a conversation about effective pitching would be a good idea. Many disagreed and they apologized, but no one really listened.

Now, Edelman will start to consider itself as a client. Question from the rest of us: What took so long? 

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Edelman Apologizes for Robin Williams Post

After receiving a slew of negative coverage yesterday, Edelman has apologized for its post on using Robin Williams’ death as a way to more aggressively promote clients in the mental health field.

While our post yesterday cited Business Insider’s Hunter Walker, his coverage of the original story was relatively tame compared to that of pubs like RepMan, in which Peppercomm’s Lauren Parker calls it “so off-base, [it's] not even in Yankee Stadium.”

Of course, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan also took the opportunity to pull no punches.

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Edelman Clarifies Position on Climate Change, Executive Firing

edelman-logoWe have to admit that we’re a little surprised that VICE has assumed the role of public relations overseer, but last week the publisher’s Motherboard blog earned a lot of attention by calling out Edelman over its decision not to join other firms in promising The Guardian that they would not represent climate change “skeptics.”

This was an interesting development particularly because in 2009, then-VP of CSR/Sustainability Mark Grundy told our co-founder Joe Ciarallo that “in terms of the facts, I am in no doubt of where we are with this.”

As if to further prove that the publisher is now a force to be reckoned with, Richard Edelman called the blogger himself to explain — and the follow-up post ran yesterday.

Senior Editor Brian Merchant’s query: how, if Edelman believes firmly in climate change, can it also represent the American Petroleum Institute?

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Edelman Has Some Thoughts on Using Robin Williams’ Death to Pitch

Fortunately, we have not received any such pitches. But because the unexpected death of Williams has dominated the news this week, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would tie the unfortunate news to the business of communications.

Yesterday the world’s largest PR firm did just that…and a journalist called foul.

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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.

Malala Yousafzai, Media Partners Push #StrongerThan Campaign

You may be aware that today is Malala Yousafzai Day; the tale of a bold young woman attacked by the Taliban for daring to educate herself is as relevant now as it was when it she was attacked in 2012.

Today saw the launch of a new PSA/social media campaign created by production house Bodega and promoted by Edelman. Here’s the video component, which first appeared on YouTube several days ago:

While the larger goal of Malala’s outreach efforts since her shooting has been to raise money and awareness for universal education for young women in the developing world, today she used her own celebrity and those of others to call for the return of the young women recently kidnapped in Nigeria.

How successful can a campaign like this one be?

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Spin the Agencies of Record

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Edelman Makes Two New SVP Hires

simiThis week Edelman announced two new hires: David Ryan will be the firm’s SVP of financial communications in Toronto and Simi Ranajee will be SVP of market access in Chicago.

Before the hire, Ryan spent nearly a decade with Longview Communications, a Toronto firm specializing in financial and corporate comms. Ryan entered finance after a stint in the world of advertising; he handled PR internally for agencies Colour and Grey Toronto after beginning his career as a journalist.

Scott Thomson, deputy general manager of Edelman Toronto, writes:

“Ryan’s appointment establishes the firm as a credible contender to support major financial transactions and special situations.”

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