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Posts Tagged ‘Gene Grabowski’

Yahoo’s CEO Still Has a Job. For Now.

Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson still has a job but Third Point, the activist hedge fund investor that had demanded his ouster for educational inaccuracies on his resumé, isn’t letting up. Now they want to take a look at the paperwork that went into the vetting process.

Yahoo hasn’t responded, but Third Point has been very vocal. CNET has a statement from the hedge fund, which has laid out its demands for widespread investigations pretty thoroughly. Third Point is also seeking greater communication from Yahoo.

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Potato Proponents Speak Up for Study-Scarred Spud

"Girl, I think my bud gettin' big."

Defenders of America’s most popular vegetable are deep in damage-control mode following the release of a highly publicized study blaming potatoes for long-term weight gain.

Among its many spud-disparaging findings, the study by Harvard University researchers contends that people who eat an extra serving per day of potatoes — fried, baked, mashed, whatever — pack on more pounds over time than those who drink an extra can of sugar-sweetened soda.

That news may once have spawned an Atkins-like crisis for the potato, still working to recover its image (and consumption numbers) from the hit it took back in 2004, when the low-carb diet was at its peak.

Now, though, the potato industry seems better prepared to take the heat.

BP’s Ad Spend Called Into Question

BP.jpg The Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce has asked BP to report how much money the company has spent on advertising since the beginning of the oil spill disaster on April 20. The numbers were due on August 16, but so far BP hasn’t provided any.

With some speculating that the company has spent millions in the 18 weeks since the spill, the question for some is whether that money could’ve been better spent.

Fortune spoke with Levick Communications SVP Gene Grabowski who called the advertising a necessity.

“In a crisis, issue-based advertising is essential. You have a relationship with your customers, and implied in that relationship in the 21st century is a conversation,” he said.

Toyota Manages Through Major Product Recall

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Toyota is currently in the midst of a massive product recall. Last week the company announced it would recall “approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models.”

Just yesterday, the company changed its tune, moving from solely a recall to suspending sales of certain vehicles altogether. Dealers across the country are bracing for the worst but also hoping that somehow the recall will be behind them as soon as possible.

Gene Grabowski, senior VP-chair of crisis and litigation for Levick Strategic Communications, told PRNewser in a phone interview today, “Toyota is no longer in the car business, they are in the safety business, whether they like it or not.”

Grabowski expressed doubts in the company’s communications strategy, saying, “if they have a strategy, it’s looking pretty shaky right now.”

Other PR professionals agreeed. “The story just kind of drags on. That’s just deadly for a reputation,” Brenda Wrigley, chair of the public relations department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications told the Associated Press.

Added Grabowski, “What they were telling consumers last week is different from what they are telling consumers this week. Last week was it was a minor malfunction, this week, they’re saying the car is still safe but we’re going to stop selling it. It’s a risky strategy.”

Golin Harris is PR agency of record for Toyota.

MORE: TVNewser reports that an ABC News investigation had a major impact on the recall.

Should PR Pros Continue To Pile on Advice For Tiger Woods?

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Countless PR professionals are using the Tiger Woods news as a way to get themselves some media attention. Yesterday, we reported on Ken Sunshine‘s appearance on the CBS “Early Show.” That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Sunshine appeared on MSNBC’s “Harball With Chris Matthews” yesterday evening (video above). Ron Sachs, president and CEO of Ron Sachs Communications sounded off to the Orlando Sentinel. Gene Grabowski, senior vice president with Washington-based Levick Strategic Communications spoke with the Associated Press. 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian went on the record with the Business Mirror.

Not everyone thinks it’s the right thing to do. “The inevitable ‘PRs offer advice to T. Woods’ stories begun. Why take part? You don’t see lawyers piling on with free advice without the facts,” said PRWeek and DMNews Publisher Julia Hood on Twitter yesterday. Actually, a number of lawyers and legal counselors have weighed in. Not surprisingly, those speaking from a legal background tell Woods to stay quiet, while PR pros advise him to tell his story, and quickly.

What’s your take – should PR pros seize the opportunity to offer advice, or is it better to stay out of a story like this?

Roger Clemens’ New PR Counsel: Levick Strategic Communications

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Its been a long road for star baseball pitcher Roger Clemens since his poor performance at a congressional hearing on steroid use in baseball 15 months ago. Now, the Daily News reports, Clemens is onto his third PR counselor, Levick Strategic Communications SVP Gene Grabowski.

Grabowski told ESPN yesterday that he knew Clemens was not lying when he told him he never used steroids because he “looked him in the eye.” The Levick SVP certainly has been busy lately, handling the Michael Phelps‘ bong mishap, Alex Rodriguez‘s steroid scandal, and KFC’s “ill-fated grilled chicken launch.”

Deadspin has more. Of course, there is always an ulterior motive. Clemens and his team feel the need to counter press around the release of a new book (written by four Daily News writers) titled, “American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America’s Pastime.” Ouch.

Needless to say, the Daily News writers are not impressed with the new spin. Wrote columnist Mike Lupica, “…once you get Clemens off his talking points, almost everything becomes a brain buster.”

UPDATE: Levick did not handle work for Rodriguez, Phelps or KFC, but rather was called to comment on them by the press. Also, in a comment to a post on Peter Himler‘s blog, The Flack, Grabowski wrote, “I know, the Mike and Mike [ESPN] segment I did is somewhat controversial. But sometimes these roles are thrust upon us, as you know. I try to do whatever it takes to help my clients. In this case, it meant going to bat for him on a national sports talk show.”