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Archives: December 2008

Obama Press Secretary: “You Could go to Cedar Rapids and Waterloo and Understand That People Aren’t Reading The Washington Post”

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Have you read Mark Leibovich‘s 5,000 word feature on soon-to-be Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in yesterday’s New York Times magazine? If you haven’t yet, you should, as it provides a comprehensive look at the communications strategy of the President-Elect and how it has changed immensely in the move from campaign to post election transition.

On Obama’s media relations strategy:

The campaign bragged that Obama never even visited with the editorial board of The Washington Post – a decision that would have been unheard of for any serious candidate in a previous presidential cycle. “You could go to Cedar Rapids and Waterloo and understand that people aren’t reading The Washington Post,” Gibbs told me last month in Chicago.

On staying on message:

Obama’s operatives spoke with a single voice and a precise message and only when they wanted to. They did it with a smile, not complaining – at least not publicly – about how the press was the enemy. And they did it using interactive tools that bred a feeling of real-time connectedness between campaign and voter.

On becoming Press Secretary:

He [Gibbs] has gotten resumes sent to his home and supportive notes from friends and from his podium predecessors. Gibbs told me that two of them — Jody Powell and the Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry — wrote essentially the same thing: “Congratulations. And condolences.”

Patrick Gavin of FishbowlDC picks out his favorite exceprts here. Peter Himler has a nice roundup as well.

Rubenstein’s Greatest Hits of 2008

Rubenstein in 2008 from Rubenstein on Vimeo.

Check out Rubenstein’s hits of 2008 video. It features the agency’s various events and red carpet walks for clients including Time Inc., the Sports Museum of America, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, MoMA, Mini USA, the Intrepid, and the Yankees.

Among the celebrities and athletes it’s easy to spot Senior EVP of Rubenstein Associates, and President of affiliated agency Rubenstein Communications, Steven Rubenstein and his father Howard Rubenstein, the man who founded the firm 55 years ago.

PRNewser Holiday Gift Guide: Whisper the “Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz”


When we heard from David Seaman the first time, it wasn’t in the form of a cattle-call pitch with generic bullet points. He sent a link to his own site, with a look at a dubious piece of direct mail from a major bank. There was no explanation. The coy tip piqued my curiosity enough to back out of the URL and find the main page for the “Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz: How to Attract Massive Attention for Your Business, Your Product, or Yourself” (Sourcebooks, Inc., $14.95).

Dirty Little Secrets is a short, pithy instigator’s guide to getting attention quickly in the world of instantaneous news and the push-pull between the MSM and user-generated content. Seaman walks his readers, or aspiring “whores,” through building an outrageous message, cozying up to bloggers, understanding online advertising (spend cautiously, test, adjust), seeding social networks and social bookmarking, through how to get TV producers fighting over you and booking you repeatedly.

Any book that pairs Sam Adams (Founding Father, Publicity Whore) with the Naked Cowboy and Michael Moore as case studies is ok by PRNewser.

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Financial Dynamics Signs Brunswick’s Dow Account in Wake of Golden Goose Scandal

PRNewser has learned that Financial Dynamics has signed the Dow Chemical M&A account away from Brunswick Group in the wake of the “Golden Goose” insider trading scandal. The information was obtained from a credible source who wishes to remain anonymous.

Numerous emails to people at both firms as well as to David Winder, media relations at Dow have not been returned. I spoke to people at both firms yesterday who promised to look in to it and call back. Neither has at the time of this post.

To recap, a former Lehman salesman was caught sharing industry secrets with friends and clients gleaned from his wife Nina Devlin‘s work at Brunswick. Matthew Devlin plead guilty this week to four counts of conspiracy to commit insider trading and one count of securities fraud. Nina Devlin was not charged.

PRWeek found out yesterday afternoon that Dow suspended work with Brunswick.

This post will be updated if and when any sources contacted get in touch.

The Ticker: Congressional Pay PR, Omnicom Cuts, Google PR to Skype…

Westwind Comm. President: Reporters Should Ask PR for Job Help


Despite a freelance reporter recently telling us he had more fun at the PRNewser holiday party than he does at most media gatherings, we still think “turning to their PR contacts” is not high on the list of a laid off journalist’s potential job search tactics.

Westwind Communications President Scott Lorenz doesn’t necessarily agree. “In discussions with my many media contacts, I advise them to be prepared for the worst and to be proactive while still working. If a reporter, writer or editor does end up getting laid off one of the most important assets they will want to use in finding a new job is their PR contacts. Yes, that’s right; the same people who send you press releases may be able to assist you in finding new work or a freelance gig,” he wrote in an open letter on his agency’s blog.

We asked some journalists what they thought. One editor told us, “Yeah, it’s not at all unheard of in the enthusiast (gaming, gadgets) press. But generally once you go to the dark side, you can’t easily return to working as a reporter.”

“That said, I did advise a young college grad friend of mine to take a job in a PR firm as his first post-J-school gig, because it would be a good opportunity to meet the people who work at various publications. He ended up landing a job with a paper a few months later,” he said. PR pros, have you helped a reporter get a gig? Let us know.

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Ballentines Turns On the Blue Light for Small Companies


The luxury agency Ballentines is spelling out the kind of discount small companies can get in tough times, and giving it a name: BPR Blue.

It’s interesting to see it in writing with the specific price tag of $2,500 per month offered to a “limited number of clients”. All agencies have some threshold based on hourly tracking or merely feel that dictates how low they can go. The threshold can be driven in to the red if there are other less quantifiable sweeteners like a hot account that opens doors with the media, a CEO who opens doors to other new business, or an account that’s so compatible with the stable that you just have to have it.

Ballentines promises the Blue service will “include preliminary consulting with the fully experienced BPR Blue staff resulting in the writing, formatting, distribution, and search engine optimization for one press release per month.”

Let us know how your agency attempting to pull in clients despite the squeeze, or not, by emailing us here.

Fresh Coat of Paint

You may have noticed the new look we have here at PRNewser. In addition to our new logo, you can now connect directly to mediabistro’s PR job board from PRNewser. And, despite the economy, and the time of year, there are still lots of new jobs being posted.

Let us know what you think, and if you’re hiring, check out our satisfaction guaranteed job post offerings here.

The Golden Goose Is Cooked; Brunswick Partner Nina Devlin’s Husband Charged with Insider Trading


Former Lehman Brothers broker Matthew Devlin was charged with insider trading today, accused of sharing information about his wife Nina Devlin‘s work on behalf of public relations clients of the international Brunswick Group.

According to the latest Reuters update, she hasn’t been charged and the statement from her lawyer the husband gathered the information without her knowledge to net clients, including a 1994 Playboy Playmate $4.8 million. Matthew Devlin received cash, a Cartier watch, a widescreen TV, and tuition at a Porsche driving school in return.

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VivaKi’s Superfriends of Social Media Get REAL


Yesterday VivaKi (pronounced ‘viva-key’), the digital division of the Publicis Groupe brought together roughly 200 people at their MediaVest offices in midtown to present and discuss its partners in creating the R.E.A.L. Social Toolkit. MC and host duties were shared by VivaKi Nerve Center President Curt Hecht, and SVP Cam Balzer.

REAL is an effort offer a more complete suite of social media marketing tools for clients, with the benefit of a discount on overall campaigns. Based on the format of the presentations–each ending with contact information, likely timeframe to launch, and price range–big brands can hit the ground running in a matter of weeks with a budget in the low six figures by choosing some of the services offered. Prices on each tool ranged from as low as $5,000 for a one month offering with recommended spends of $50,000 for more thorough engagements.

REAL is one approach to a increasingly fuzzy arena for marketing dollars where PR firms, ad agencies, and interactive firms are involved in messaging for clients, and creating the narratives and interactive content to do so.

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