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Archives: April 2010

On the Podcast: AdAge‘s Michael Bush Dissects the PR Agency Landscape


On this week’s podcast, we discussed Goldman Sach’s PR strategy in light of their Senate testimony yesteray and changes at the top of MySpace PR.

Our guest was Advertising Age reporter Michael Bush, who talked about the PR agency landscape, referencing AdAge‘s recently published agency rankings and other trends.

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“All these agencies, the promises they made to get business…for these lower fees [during the downturn]…[it will be] interesting to see what the backlash on that will be this year,” said Bush.

Last week’s podcast guest was Marcy Cohen, senior manager of Corporate Communications at Sony Electronics. Listen to all past PRNewser podcasts here.

Sandra Bullock Goes Big With People Cover

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Sandra Bullock has finally emerged since it was revealed her husband Jesse James was having an affair, leading her to file for divorce.

Bullock is on the cover of the latest issue of People magazine, in a story that focuses more on her adopted baby than her current marital status.

Cheryl Maisel, who reps Bullock at Rogers & Cowan, has had quite a month. It was rumored that it was Maisel who initially broke the news to Bullock that her husband was cheating on her.

Kathie Berlin, the former president of Rogers & Cowan recently said, in regards to Bullock’s tough position, “she can’t come out with just a brief statement saying she’s terrible hurt and shocked and needs time to figure out what to do next. It’s not possible, they’ll want more. When you can’t win, you win by saying nothing.”

With the People cover story as evidence, certainly Bullock is beyond the “saying nothing” point.

FD, Quinn-Gillespie Party For White House Correspondents

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FishbowlDC recaps the pre-White House Correspondent’s Dinner party held by D.C. power PR firms FD and Quinn-Gillespie last night:

Like a party game, at periodic intervals, someone would turn and ask, “Who’s the most important person in this room?” At one point it was Jack Quinn, as in Quinn-Gillespie. He and his lovely wife, Susanna, graced the party. At another, it was FNC’s Bret Baier. Another V.I.P. was David Jackson of USA TODAY, who will head up the WHCA dinner next year.

The picture is CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry posing with a cardboard cutout of President Obama.

APCO In Finals For Best Internship

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APCO Worldwide, with just over $100 million in revenue, is a finalist in InternshipKing.com’s best internship program awards.

Edelman made the top 50, but not the top 10. So far, more than 39,000 people have cast their votes.

AgencySpy has some background on the ad agencies in the top 10, which include Crispin, Porter + Bogusky and Mullen.

Ogilvy PR Names Suzanne O’Leary Lopez EVP, Group Director

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Lopez joins Ogilvy PR from Thornburg Mortgage, Inc., where she served as Assistant Vice President of Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

As executive vice president and group director of the agency’s Chicago Corporate practice, Lopez will lead business development and provide senior counsel to clients.

Nathan Friedman previously held the position, before his promotion in January to managing director. Lopez has also worked for Weber Shandwick and Ruder Finn.

PitchEngine Advertises On Bull Rider

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First, it was PRNewswire advertising on a race car. Now, competing press release distribution company PitchEngine is advertising on a professional bull rider, Mike Lee.

“By sponsoring Mike, we’re getting incredible brand exposure and supporting a guy who represents hard work and gritty determination – something that’s very important to us here at PitchEngine,” said Jason Kintzler, PitchEngine Founder and CEO.

The PitchEngine branding will debut this weekend on cable TV network Versus, as the Professional Bull Riding tour stops in Billings, MT for the Nile Invitational.

RELATED: PitchEngine Partners With Technorati and MyMediaInfo; Announces Media Relations Platform

Former TBS PR Chief Shirley Powell Joins The Weather Channel

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Powell left Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., (TBS, Inc.) in December after working with the company on and off for 15 years.

She joins The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC) as executive vice president of corporate communications, the company announced today.

In an interview with PRNewser after she announced her departure from TBS in December 2009, Powell said, “I’ve already been inundated with calls from headhunters and friends…I don’t know if I’ll be back in the media world. I’m open to any possibility.”

“Powell will serve as chief spokesperson and develop and implement internal and external public relations and communications strategies for the multiplatform venture, including The Weather Channel network, its digital properties including weather.com and The Weather Channel Mobile and its business-to-business division Weather Services International (WSI),” the company said in a release.

“There are few brands in media with the strength and credibility of The Weather Channel and the understanding of the limitless opportunities that result from reaching users across all platforms,” said Powell in a statement today.

The Ticker: Weekend Journal; Goldman testifies; Social campaigns that suck; Boobquake

Did Goldman Sachs Do Anything To Help Itself Yesterday?

Goldman staffed up its PR counsel in advance of yesterday’s Senate hearings, which looked at the company’s role in the financial meltdown. Specifically, as ABC News reports:

The Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges against Goldman this month and claimed that the company bet against its own clients and helped create the housing bubble that preceded the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

So far, it seems, people are not pleased with Goldman’s performance. Sean Cassidy, president of DKC — formerly Dan Klores Communications — told PRNewser:

I thought Goldman’s performance was absolutely terrible. From what I saw, I don’t think they defended their business practices at all… The executive testimony ranged from ludicrous, occasionally wishy-washy, denials that lacked credibility to an inability to answer seemingly basic questions. Overall they came across like rich guys who got caught.

TIME‘s Barbara Kiviat wrote:

What really frightens me in all of this is that it didn’t seem like a legal or PR strategy. It seemed like these Goldman executives genuinely had no ability to take a step back and make observations about the system in which they operate.

Aaron Kwittken, CEO of Kwittken & Company recently said Goldman should open their Kimono, just a little. He told PRNewser today:

It is not at all surprising that Goldman is standing their ground on Capitol Hill. They have no choice. At the same time, however, PR needs to be part of their triage mode, working behind the scenes with third party groups and media to provide context around the business of their business. It is likely they have done nothing wrong, but that doesn’t matter. The operative issue here is that the general public, especially media and grandstanding politicians, don’t have a clue as to how the business works.

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein appeared on ‘Good Morning America,’ today, in addition to other TV interviews. PRNewser’s weekly poll asks, “Will Goldman Sachs’ Words Do Anything To Change Your Perception of the Company?” Cast your vote here.

Facebook Staffed Up D.C. Public Affairs Office Well Before Recent Senate Privacy Concerns

Facebook is currently facing charges from Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) that the social network does not respect user’s privacy.

Schumer told CNN, in a segment that also featured Nick O’Neill from our sibling blog AllFacebook.com, “the fact that you have to opt out, and the fact that the opt out procedure is complicated, clearly means that people have less control.” He was referring to Facebook sharing user data with third party sites.

Issues like this could be one reason why Facebook staffed up its D.C. public affairs office months ago. The office consists of four staffers, PRNewser has learned, and is led by Timothy Sparapani, a former senior attorney with American Civil Liberties Union. Adam Conner is Associate Manager for policy. The company also recently added Corey Owens, previously the Press Secretary at the Constitution Project, a D.C. privacy group to their D.C. team.

Andrew Noyes, formerly a reporter with CongressDaily, joined Facebook as Manager, Public Policy Communications in October 2009. In a PRNewser interview at the time, Noyes said, in regards to Facebook’s challenges communicating privacy issues:

You’ve got the FTC, which is very interested in privacy and consumer issues. They are the lead agency on this and they’ve expressed a lot of interest in taking a hard look at how companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and others are using people’s personal info and protecting data.

You have so many cooks in the kitchen so to speak so sometimes messages get muddled. The biggest challenge is making sure Washington truly understands what Facebook is, what Facebook offers and how it protects user’s information.

When we caught up with Noyes today to talk about Schumer’s comments, he sent us the following statement:

We appreciate the concerns raised by Sen. Schumer and expect that further dialogue with interested members of Congress about the user controls that accompany the tools announced by Facebook last week will alleviate any concerns they may have.

He also said Facebook is looking to make one more hire in their D.C. office. The Federal Trade Commission indicated they will weigh into the debate at some point.

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