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Archives: May 2008

Obama: Americans Tired of Spin and PR

It is not uncommon for politicians to say the same things over and over again to drive home their messages.

However, it is still somewhat interesting when compiled in a video montage. In this clip from Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle, he joins the press corps bus following Barack Obama through Illinois.

Watch as Obama says Americans are tired of “spin and PR” from their politicians in every single speech on the three day trip.

At one point Riggle asks Athena Jones of NBC News, “Didn’t he say a lot of this stuff at the last stop?” To which she responds, “Absolutely.”


Council of PR Firms: Agencies Report 7.5% Q1 Revenue Boost

According to the seventy PR agencies who completed the Council of PR Firms’ Business Practices Benchmarking Study, Q1 2008 saw a 7.5% increase in revenue, on average, compared to Q1 2007.

However this is a decline from another CPRF study from January that reported revenues were up an average of 12.3% in 2007.

“Firms that are dedicating efforts toward new business development, enhancing digital capabilities, and, as always, delivering superior client service should be well-fortified going forward,” said CPRF president Kathy Cripps, in a statement.

Cision Launches On-Demand Platform

Cision, the company most PR pros are familiar with for their media database service MediaSource, formerly known as Bacon’s, has released new on-demand editions of their flagship product, titled CisionPoint Enterprise, CisionPoint Professional, and CisionPoint Small Business.

Cision spokesperson Stephen Debruyn tells PRNewser, “With this initiative, we are really taking a customer-focused approach, with the client being able to choose from among a broad range of features available within the platform, selecting the Edition most suitable to his or her need.”

Pricing starts at $4,500 for the Small Business Edition, and the Enterprise Edition is priced at around $50,000.

Audio profiles and photos are available to customers across all editions, and there are currently about 2,600 of these profiles, with more to come.

According to Debruyn, features that standout include, “multiple workspaces; the ability to personalize the home page of the application; and its powerful list building tool.”

Screen shots of the new editions, after the jump.

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Clean Up That Resume


Tracy Paul & Company is looking for an Account Executive

Hachette Filipacchi Media is looking for an SEO Specialist

LIME Public Relations + Promotion is looking for an Account Supervisor

The Gap is looking for a Communications Specialist

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is looking for a Press Officer

Manufactured Gossip? No Way!


When we see “press releases,” like the one sent to Gawker from Kim Kardashian publicist Jerry Baker, claiming Kardashian was, “saved from stampede of 13 year olds” outside a Long Island hotel, it forces us to think: who actually writes about this stuff?

Problem is, a lot of people do.

Heck, we’re writing about it too, if only for the ridiculousness of the “news” at hand.

The best part is that the headline of the release actually reads, “Gossip item, Press advisor, Gossip item, Press advisory, Press.”

Full release after the jump.

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Spin the Agencies of Record


(High School Sports, A Vype publication)

This edition of Spin the Agencies of Record includes account wins in high school sports publishing, P2P student loans, real estate tech, and one of those short books designed to teach business strategy by way of a cute parable:

Connect2 lands VYPE, publisher of magazines and sites about high school sports

Richter7 to Juggle Some Elephants

Trylon chosen as agency of record for Fynanz, “America’s first online P2P student loan marketplace”

Real estate tech and database company Zaio selects William Mills

Porter Novelli Denies Layoffs; Hiring in Social Media and Green Departments


(Porter Novelli client SoyJoy, big in Japan, not big in U.S., yet)

PRNewser checked with a number of sources following a tip about layoffs at Porter Novelli. According to the tipster, a first round of layoffs earlier this month hit partners and SVPs, with a second round hitting junior and mid-level staffers. Porter Novelli is a division of Omnicom (NYSE: OMC).

George Medici, VP of Media Relations and Christmas tree source has left the company.

I did reach Porter Novelli’s Chief Client Officer Julie Winskie who told me “with candor and honesty” that this is not the case. According to Winskie, PN is in fact, hiring in some expected areas including social media, medical devices, and green tech to handle clients such as J&J, and Green Grid.

Porter Novelli is also looking for people to contribute to their work on the SoyJoy account in their Washington DC, and Los Angeles offices, though Winskie said the company is moving away from the traditional approach of staffing accounts and whole sectors regionally and creating an “agency without walls.”

At press time, Porter Novelli lists 17 openings across 22 divisions and offices on its website.

American Airlines & Bag Checking PR

(image cred)

The big PR “damage control” story for today is American Airlines’ decision to charge $15 for each checked bag.

BusinessWeek’s David Kiley sent this “memo” to Weber-Shandwick, American Airlines agency of record, suggesting they forward it to their client:

Dear Client: Instead of instituting a fee for checked bags, which will be a lightning rod of bad publicity, please consider burying the cost of rising fuel in across-the-board ticket price increases. Consumers understand that many consumer prices are rising because of increasing fuel costs. What they don’t like, or understand, is when companies begin charging for items they have previously gotten for free-a single checked bag, a soda, a bag of chips, a WiFi connection, etc. The best solution to this problem is to stay out of the news, not to lean into it and ask for a pie in the face.

Michael Bush penned the feature story in Advertising Age, where he made the point that this announcement is also covering up other bad news for the carrier. “American Airlines is reducing capacity as much as 12% and laying off thousands…Yet those shifts were all but lost in the media coverage and PR backlash generated by a third move it’s making: instituting a first-checked-bag fee of $15 each way.”

Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan says being first is the real issue. “American’s only mistake here was being the first one to put in this fee. Now that they’ve broken the cherry, watch as all their fellow airlines fall in line,” he wrote.

Sure enough, “United Airlines said it is ‘seriously studying’ the baggage matter, and Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and US Airways said they are evaluating the idea,” according to Newsday.

One question to think about: do consumers buy tickets solely based on the ticket price they see on a travel website, or do they buy based on who their frequent flier account is with, or who they’ve flown with before.

Personally, we buy mainly on ticket price, and tend to overlook the “extra” costs. American seems to see it this way as well, as shown by their choice to raise the “extras” instead of base ticket prices.

Either way, American will have to pay the consequences of being the first to announce this price increase, during peak summer travel season taboot. Who will be next?

The Ticker: Secrets, Hype, Medialink…

Publicists to Times: It’s Expensive to Live in NYC


The New York Times published a trend story over the weekend, titled, “Starting Salaries but New York Tastes,” which focused on young professionals adjusting to a NY lifestyle without big salaries.

What profession was most quoted in the story? Surprise, surprise: publicists.

The Times didn’t mention any of the details of where these publicists worked, referring to broad titles, such as “communications strategist.” So, PRNewser looked them up for you.

Laura Werkheiser, a Senior Account Executive at Fleishman Hillard and recent transplant from San Francisco, told the Times, “If I shop…I can’t have a social life and I can’t eat.”

Allison Mooney used to work in book publishing, but received a 40% raise when she joined Next Great Thing (NGT), a division of Fleishman-Hillard’s Youth and Mobile marketing group as Director of Trends and Research. She’s also tired of being hit on. “I find in other cities guys are more apt to buy you drinks and expect nothing from it. Here, if they do buy you a drink, which is rare, you have to suffer through flirtations. It’s true. It’s really cheesy,” she told the Times.

Adam Leibsohn makes $60,000 as a strategist at Anomaly Communications, but still keeps things simple. “It’s kind of a spartan lifestyle. I eat a lot of street meat for lunch.”

Ah, the things we do to live in the big city.

(image: Fleishman’s Laura Werkheiser)