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Edelman

Edelman Appoints New Head of Chicago Office

2756a9891d9fecb8e56ba61b7893dfa8In yet another revolving door announcement, Edelman named Jay Porter as the new president of its inaugural Chicago office.

Porter was most recently executive vice president and global client relationship manager for Starbucks; he’ll replace Rick Murray, who’s moving on to other endeavors, and report to U.S. president/CEO Mark Haas.

This won’t be Porter’s first stint with the firm: from 2005-2012 he alternately served as the Seattle Consumer practice, manager of the Axe account and EVP/general manager of the San Francisco office before taking over the Starbucks account.

Edelman’s made a few changes since announcing its 2014 “Show Up Differently” initiative; we’ll report on future updates.

Edelman Trust Barometer Results: It’s CSR Time

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The big conclusion everyone’s drawn from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is that the public’s confidence in both media and government has hit a low point. The most important metric is supposedly a jump in the gap between trust in business and trust in government, and the only three notable countries in which the latter trumps the former are South Korea, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

Hold on, though: this doesn’t mean that we’re about to enter some neo-Libtertarian utopia.

The findings can be summed up with three big letters: CSR.

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Now Is Apparently the Time for PR to Take on Advertising

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That’s according to Tom Foremski of ZDNET, who previously told us that Google doesn’t really want to kill all our press releases—it just wants to help us improve them.

His argument is that the PR industry has a “huge window of opportunity” in 2014 as the ad business splinters, traditional campaigns lose more of their power to convince and large-scale consolidation moves forward, further concentrating the talent pool and (arguably) smothering the creative urge beneath endless layers of bureaucracy.

Sounds familiar…

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Butterball #TurkeyTalk: Yes, We Hired Dudes and No, Our Turkeys Aren’t Filled With Butter

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It’s raining men at Turkey Talk this year.

In a revealing AP interview, Butterball CEO Rod Brenneman told us several important things that we will now share with you:

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Does Antonio Villaraigosa’s Edelman Gig Conflict with His Herbalife Gig?

It's just a question.

Yesterday’s announcement that former L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would join Edelman to advise clients on public policy was interesting on its own, but one detail made it more so: last month the infamous “nutritional products company” Herbalife also hired him as an adviser.

This fact creates a conflict of interest, because venture capitalist Bill Ackman recently hired Edelman to help publicize his accusations that Herbalife is an illegal pyramid scheme in which the vast majority of paying members lose money. Both Villaraigosa and an Edelman spokesman say no such conflict exists, but we don’t see how that could be true considering that the most valuable advice Herbalife could receive from anyone right now concerns escaping the shadow of Ackman’s very public campaign (which, again, is managed by Edelman).

Ackman’s hardly the only one pressing Herbalife: while Villaraigosa praised the company for its “strong presence within the Latino community” when he took the job in September, several major Black and Latino advocacy groups recently called upon California’s attorney general to investigate its supposed misdeeds more thoroughly. In defense of Villaraigosa, Edelman’s global public affairs spokeswoman Katie Burke told the Los Angeles Times that he’s “not coming on board for any specific client or project”, which reads like a classic case of obfuscation.

At any rate, we wouldn’t put money on Herbalife if we had it.

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Joins Edelman on Public Policy

Smile for the camera.

…and the hits just keep coming: Edelman has tapped former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to work in a “senoir adviser” role in the firm’s global public affairs division. This announcement is interesting primarily for Politico’s description of the role Villaraigosa will play:

Villaraigosa will work mostly for the firm’s corporate clients on issued related to public policy — but he will not lobby. Edelman has no lobbying division or registered lobbying clients.

Instead, he’ll help clients navigate a variety of public policy challenges in the United States and abroad from a public affairs and public relations perspective. He is to be based mostly in Los Angeles.

His responsibilities will obviously go far beyond telling executives that they’re now required to provide health insurance to their employees (and those employees’ same-sex spouses, depending on the state in which they live), and we’d be very curious to sit in on some of those meetings.

One thing is certain: the Edelman gig will be far more productive than Villaraigosa’s other new position as senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

PR ‘Matriarch’ Ruth Edelman, 1929-2013

Ruth EdelmanToday brings news that in some way touches everyone in the public relations industry: Ruth Edelman, who helped build husband Daniel’s eponymous firm into the world’s largest, died this weekend at 84 after a brief battle with leukemia.

The Chicago Sun-Times describes Ruth as the firm’s “matriarch”, but of course her role went well beyond “pick[ing] out the lamps and furniture” for Edelman’s first Chicago office.

In fact, she was something of a bellwether for powerful women in the industry, and her networking skills were legendary. Son and current president/CEO Richard Edelman explains:

“She was my dad’s kind of silent partner…In the present generation, she would have been an executive, but in the ’50s she was the corporate wife. She never had a formal title while my dad was alive, but everybody knew she was the power behind the throne.”

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Roll Call Redux: Edelman Digital and Lambert, Edwards & Associates

4762458_300Add Edelman Digital to the list of firms making big changes this week. David Armano, formerly managing director of ED Chicago, will assume the newly created position global strategy director of key accounts and report to Cricket Wardein, head of U.S. digital practice, while southwest digital lead Brian Mays will succeed him as MD reporting to Rick Murray, GM of the larger Edelman Chicago operation.

Armano, who joined the agency in 2009, has become quite the presence as a quotable expert on all things digital, and he’ll provide “senior-level guidance” to CMOs, digital marketers and social media teams on the client side.

Mays, who has nearly two decades of experience and specializes in helping brands lead online conversations, will replace Armano in overseeing 75 employees in Chicago.

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Changes abound at Lambert, Edwards & Associates as well; the firm added three new members to its RIPPLE+AFFECT digital team in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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New Edelman Advisor: ‘PR Needs to Grow Up’

edelmanBack in March, Edelman advisor Steve Rubel told us that upcoming PR professionals need to “look at the bigger picture” and “orient [themselves] toward both creating and distributing content”. The firm’s newest tech advisor Burghardt Tenderich recently gave The Holmes Report a more direct version of that statement:

“PR needs to grow up and become real content creators.”

Edelman picked Tenderichwho is an Associate Professor/Associate Director of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center at USC Annenberg, to advise clients tech clients; his specialty will be “transmedia storytelling” campaigns like this one which include both paid and earned media across platforms.

The quote may seem obvious now, but remember that Edelman was a little late to the paid content game. The firm’s sponsored content partnership with Reuters on Twitter had a bit of a rocky reception, but we’ll be watching to see exactly how they put Tenderich and Rubel’s statements into action.

*Photo via Edelman Digital

What Does the Publicis/Omnicom Merger Mean?

We’ve all heard enough about this weekend’s Publicis/Omnicom merger to know that it’s too big for our limited minds to even fathom, much less evaluate.

So many questions followed: will it lead to mass layoffs or protracted battles over antitrust laws? Will it doom boutique agencies that don’t get picked up by major “holding company” conglomerates? Will it change our jobs in profound and permanent ways?

These are all valid, fascinating issues that must be considered—and for now we’ll let other people do the thinking for us, starting with those smartasses at The Onion.

Surprisingly accurate! That headline stings a bit, though we finally understand why they didn’t hire us for the grad school internship we wanted so badly (should’ve learned to code in high school, dammit). On a more serious note, Richard Edelman is skeptical of this supposed sea change, writing:

Bigger does not mean better. My 84-year-old mother’s first reaction yesterday was that this reminds her of AOL’s* merger with Time Warner. “They were all screwed up for years,” she said.

In other words, don’t freak out…at least not yet. But there will be blood.

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