Earlier this week we reported on the merger of two Hollywood PR powerhouses, Interpublic PR agencies BNC and PMK/HBH. It didn’t take long after the merger for a pretty big shakeup to result.
PMK agents Robin Baum, Jennifer Allen, Andy Gelb, Simon Halls, Stephen Huvane and Melissa Kates have all departed, taking with them clients including Jennifer Aniston, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and others. Baum, Huvane and Gelb have formed Slate PR, The Wrap reports. Josh Dickey at The Wrap called the merger an “ill fated decision,” reducing the onetime powerhouse PMK to a “second- or third-tier public relations firm.”
Not everyone completely agrees. A source close to the matter told PRNewser today, “the people who left, while their clients are high profile, they are not particularly profitable.” The source said “something had to give” with PMK since, “it’s hard to be truly profitable with celebs.”
Others have said that is missing the point. While the celebrity clients themselves may not be profitable, you leverage those clients to get in front of big corporate brands. “Every major consumer marketing company wants to connect with celebrities,” said one agency CEO, “it’s not just about the direct profit margin for those accounts.”
Several people we’ve spoke to are surprised the story hasn’t been picked up in the mainstream press. “I think there’s a level of shock that it hasn’t been covered better by the mainstream media,” one said.
[image: Former PMK agent Stephen Huvane]
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