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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Dowd’

Roll Call: Dowd Joins Golin, Porsche Has a New PR GM, and More

Jim Dowd has joined GolinHarris as SVP of national media relations, reporting to New York MD Jennifer Cohan. He was previously a principal and MD of Middleberg Communications. Middleberg acquired Dowd’s firm, The Dowd Agency, in 2009.

Porsche Cars North America has appointed Steve Janisse as its PR GM, effective February 1. He will oversee media relations and PR, including product placements, internal comms and social media. Bernd Harling, the organization’s previous PR GM, will become principal communications counsel, a new position focused on raising awareness among key stakeholders in the company’s major markets. The press release announcing the changes includes a list of the company’s PR contacts.

Tracy McGraw has been named SVP of corporate communications at BET. She will be responsible for PR efforts and strategies behind the network’s series, specials. and  events. Prior to BET, McGraw was at VH1.

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Year in Review: Top 5 Mergers & Acquisitions

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Downturns are a great time to shop if you have the money, and a lot of firms took advantage in 2009. The big got huge, the medium got big, and some got more social as firms merged and gobbled up other firms. We can’t remember a year when more M&A took place.

We pulled five deals for your consideration, ranked by “interesting-ness,” not revenue:

1) Next Fifteen + M Booth

With solid tech shops Text 100, Bite, and Outcast firmly in pocket, holding company Next Fifteen expanded in to the consumer, lifestyle, and travel PR market with M Booth in the U.S., and Lexis in the U.K.

2) Publicis Groupe + Razorfish

French giant Publicis bought Razorfish from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) for a cool $530 million. While not a PR deal per se, Publicis added a lot of size to its Vivaki suite (see VivaKi’s Superfriends of Social Media Get REAL)

3) CRT/tanaka + Livingston Communications

CRT Tanaka bought Geoff Livingston‘s firm in the Spring, along with his very popular Buzz Bin blog (now with multiple authors.) Look for the social big foot’s new firm sometime in 2010.

4) WPP Group + TNS

After a lot of chatter and speculation, global conglomerate WPP Group (Nasdaq: WPPGY) acquired Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), known for their Cymfony analytics tool. WPP has countless marketing brands in their stable, including huge PR shops such as Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, and Ogilvy PR.

5) Middleberg + Dowd

The growth of Don Middleberg‘s firm is deja vu all over again. Ten years ago he sold the $18 million Middleberg & Associates to Euro RSCG. Now his Middleberg Communications reaches mid-size with the acquisition of Jim Dowd‘s firm. It’s Middleberg’s third purchase in as many years.

Will Starz Face PR Challenges With Hire of Former HBO CEO Chris Albrecht?


So far the answer is a resounding no. Albrecht, who led HBO into original programming with hits like “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” left the company in 2007 after he was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Now he has joined HBO competitor Starz as president and chief executive.

Of the many stories covering the move, some have not mentioned Albrecht’s run in with the law, and those that did mentioned it briefly. “I applaud Starz’s decision. This is America and everyone deserves a second chance,” said Middleberg Communications principal Jim Dowd, who works with a number of TV clients, including MTV, A&E, Animal Planet and IFC.

Feren Communications handles PR for Starz programming and declined to comment as they do not handle corporate PR for the company.

Who Will Face Bigger PR Storm: Adam Lambert or ABC?


After what some are calling a “racy” performance on the American Music Awards Sunday night, in which he kissed another man and pushed a man’s head into his crotch, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert had his appearance on tomorrow’s “Good Morning America” canceled.

Hot to pick up the flavor of the week guest, the CBS “Early Show” added Lambert to tomorrow’s line up. Who will face the bigger PR storm, ABC or Lambert?

“I feel like Adam’s performance was in keeping with other moments from awards shows, and he is being treated very unfairly just because he is gay,” Dowd Agency CEO Jim Dowd told PRNewser today. “It’s a double edged sword to have these other moments [i.e. Britney kissing Madonna] be treated on a different level than his moment just because he happens to be making out with a guy.” Dowd’s clients include MTV, A&E, Animal Planet and IFC.

Another entertainment industry publicist, speaking on the condition of anonymity as to not damage his relationship with GMA, said, “it’s complete crap. CBS can do it and ABC can’t? I can’t imagine the corporate playbook on what’s acceptable on TV is that different [between the two networks]. It’s a total double standard. Most people don’t care about this. This is news, this is really a big deal? 15 million watched and 1,500 people called to complain. That is like .001%. It’s silly.”

Not everyone completely agrees. Hollywood PR vet Howard Bragman, founder of agency Fifteen Minutes, is openly gay and told PRNewser, “I do feel there is a different standard.” However, Bragman was quick to point out that he was at GMA last week with Chaz Bono, the only child of Sonny and Cher, who spoke about his female-to-male gender transition.

“There may be a lot of things but I don’t think homophobic is among them. GMA has always been pretty good,” he said.

Middleberg Communications Acquires Dowd Agency

Middleberg Communications will acquire The Dowd Agency in a deal announced today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however the acquisition puts the agency at more than $4 million in revenues and about 25 employees. Middleberg had net fees of $2,694,000 in 2008, which means about $1.5 million in annual business will come to the agency from today’s deal. The new agency will operate as Middleberg Communications, with The Dowd Agency as its consumer division.

This is the third deal in as many years for Middleberg. In November 2006 the agency acquired Towers Group and last February they acquired The Weiser Group.

The Dowd deal has been a long time in the works. “Jim and I have been talking for close to two years,” Middleberg Communications CEO Don Middleberg told PRNewser. “It’s not an economic story, it’s really a story of two guys who have been talking about doing something. Jim is a young guy who has tremendous consumer credentials.”

Dowd is steadily growing at a 20% year over year clip, Middleberg said, while his own agency is down 5-10% this year. Referring to his previous firm Middleberg & Associates, which was a 150-employee, $18 million operation that he sold to Euro RSCG, a division of Havas, in June 2000, Middleberg said he is, “not looking to become 150 people in three cities any longer, but I am looking to become what we were before, which is a superior firm doing great work.”

He also didn’t rule out future deals.

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