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Posts Tagged ‘Kent Hollenbeck’

Guest Post: Live and In-Person Rules At SXSW

Have you heard? Last week, there was an event down in Austin, TX called SXSW. We hear it was pretty big. You may have seen a few tweets about it.

Among the many from the PR world who attended were Waggener Edstrom. While there, they talked about some of the firm’s digital tools. Today, Kent Hollenbeck, SVP of marketing and comms, is talking about some of the observations and key takeaways from the event. Any key points you’d like to note? Please share in the comments section or @PRNewser.

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Waggener Edstrom Makes Leadership Changes

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Waggener Edstrom Worldwide announced several leaderships changes this week.

Pam Edstrom is now officially president of the global Microsoft account. She had been leading the account in an interim role since Frank Shaw left Wag Ed for an internal role at Microsoft in July 2009.

In addition, president of global strategies Claire Lematta will now also take up full-time leadership of the agency’s North America practices, in addition to continuing to oversee EMEA and APAC.

Kent Hollenbeck will extend his role leading the Wag Ed’s Marketing & Corporate Communications team to now also head up the client development group, combining those two groups.

Lastly, Marianne Allison will formally lead the agency’s Social Innovation practice.

Nine Agencies Removed From O’Dwyer’s Rankings


The updated O’Dwyer’s PR agency rankings were published today, and as expected, Waggener Edstrom is not included on the list. Wag Ed had consistently ranked as the number two largest firm.

Among the top 20 firms, Cooney/Waters Group and Allison Partners posted the biggest gains, with 18 and 12 percent revenue increases, respectively.

Jack O’Dwyer told PRNewser that Waggener Edstrom, Taylor, Padilla Speer Beardsley, Weisscomm (WSG), Peppercom, Capstrat, French/West/Vaughn, CRT/Tanaka and Imre were removed from this edition of the rankings.

We asked O’Dwyer what his criteria were for kicking firms off the rankings. “The first thing is they won’t talk to me. They’re like Tiger Woods,” he said.

“They’re cheating me. Think if an agency has 86 employees and one subscription [to O'Dwyers]. Do you think one person is reading it?”

As we previously reported, Waggener Edstrom’s Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Communications Kent Hollenbeck said the agency would not participate in the rankings this year because the list, “has not had a measurable impact on our business efforts for some time.”

Other agencies we’ve spoken with share that sentiment.

On the other hand, O’Dwyer told us that approximately 30 agencies so far have agreed to take group web subscriptions to O’ and receive ads to the value of those site licenses. “Large firms that insist on taking only one or two subs will not be in our rankings,” said O’Dwyer.

The subscription budgets are as follows: $2,000 for agencies with $2M in fees, $3,000 for those with $5M-$10M in fees, and $5,000 for those with $10M and more.

The total fees on O’Dwyer’s 132 agency list total more than $1.2 billion.

Jack O’Dwyer To PR Firms: Pay Up Or We’ll Drop You From Our Rankings


O’Dwyer’s Public Relations News, a longstanding PR industry publication led by Jack O’Dwyer has published rankings of independent PR agencies for quite some time.

This year, the publication is asking agencies to pay to be included in the rankings, and it seems so far that agencies aren’t too pleased with the decision. Writes O’Dwyer:

Waggener Edstrom, with $119 million in revenues in 2008, 843 employees, and No. 2 on our rankings, has only one web/NL sub at $295. It refuses to pony up a nickel more. We just don’t fit into their “marketing plan,” a marketing executive told us. Several other large ranked firms have the same attitude. So we’re booting Wagged and the others off the rankings. They’re not “PR” firms.

Waggener Edstrom’s Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Communications Kent Hollenbeck responded:

While we have participated in prior years, O’Dwyer’s list has not had a measurable impact on our business efforts for some time.

We are, however, taking part in other industry rankings that do not require payment, and which have proven to deliver as good, or better, results for our business. But because of our decision, O’Dwyer has singled us out for declining to advertise.

Here is what O’Dwyer is asking for: $2,000 for agencies with $2M in fees, $3,000 for those with $5M-$10M in fees, and $5,000 for those with $10M and more.

In speaking with a number of agencies about this, none we’ve spoken to are willing to pony up the fees. O’Dwyer defends the decision in a long post on the publication’s blog, after being accused by at least one agency owner of acting “highly unethical.”

If O’Dwyer’s goal is to get more advertisers – which it seems to be – we can’t imagine this stance helps his cause.