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  • 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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SEC Charges Investor Relations Exec with Insider Trading

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In news that points toward the darker side of financial PR, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced this morning that it would charge an executive at a top Manhattan investor relations firm with crimes related to insider trading.

The charge is surprisingly simple: Michael Anthony Dupre Lucarelli, director at Manhattan’s Lippert/Heilshorn Investor Relations, allegedly used clients’ unpublished press releases to guide his own investments — and made more than half a million dollars in the process.

The case is notable in that it differs from the common narrative regarding automated trades made with the help of robotic press releases that may run afoul of the law by giving certain traders an advantage that ultimately adds up to fractions of a second.

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The Ticker: Emmys Fashion; Brands and Ice Buckets; Tech Lobbying; And More

APOCALYPSE WATCH: Westboro Baptist Church Found a Way to Make Us All Happy

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THINK FAST: Who do you hate more? The terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or the Westboro Baptist “Church”? Hard to choose, but to help make the decision, I believe we would all love to see a no-disqualification cage match.

Whelp, you may get your chance soon enough. Yes, seriously. 

An Australian comic named Adam Hills heard about Westboro’s plans to picket the funeral of Robin Williams. Speaking on behalf of the rest of us, he wondered how far those idiots would take their God-loathing, humanity-hating bravado. So, he offered to pay for them to fly to Iraq and picket ISIS.

And Westboro accepted. See? You’re smiling, aren’t you? Happiness achieved.

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Biggest Stories of the Week

The Don of PR Reminds The New York Times That Stunts Work

rubenstein_lg_lHere’s one we missed to end the week: last week, The New York Times chose to use one of its “New York Today” columns to position our fair city as a land of large-scale stunts, be they graffiti residencies or models riding donkeys through Times Square.

Howard J. RubensteinRubenstein Associates founder alternately known as “Superflack” and “The Don of PR” — responded with a letter to the editor that we will share here for you.

When I started my public relations business 60 years ago, I found that stunts provided the best way for me to promote my clients.

Some memorable ones include calling attention to high taxes in New York City by putting in front of City Hall a rubber alligator (“the city is taking a bite out of taxpayers”) and a man dressed in nothing but a barrel with suspenders (“after taxes, the taxpayers are left with nothing”); and sheep, herded down Broadway, to promote wool producers.

A great stunt still has the power to penetrate. In fact, through social media, stunts have greater velocity and the ability to demand more attention than ever — as evidenced by the reach of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in which people dump ice water on themselves to raise awareness of and money for Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Stunts still get attention because great fun is timeless. Done well, they create publicity that cannot be stunted.

HOWARD J. RUBENSTEIN
New York, Aug. 15, 2014

Hard to disagree with that.

[Pic via New York Magazine]

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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