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Archives: January 2010

Doug Haslam Joins Voce Communications

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Doug Haslam has joined Voce Communications as Supervisor in the agency’s social media focused Voce Connect division.

Previously Haslam was with Shift Communications as Account Director. He will remain in the Boston area and will work remotely for Voce Communications, as the company has several “satellite” offices.

In a phone interview today, Haslam he said he made the move to focus more on social media as opposed to traditional PR.

“I’ve really had an interest in that,” he said. “There is a lot of demand out there and now is the time to really grab a position in that area. Nothing against traditional PR but to be on the vanguard of things has been on my mind for a while.”

Voce Communications counts eBay, NetApp and PlayStation as clients. The agency also recently won Yahoo consumer PR agency of record duties as part of a combined team with Porter Novelli.

United Airlines PR RFP ‘In the Last Stages’

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United Airlines issued a PR agency of record RFP this past October, and the company has yet to announce their final selection, although things seem to be getting close.

Robin Urbanski, Media Relations Manager at United Airlines told PRNewser this week, “We are in the last stages of review with some finalists.”

As we speculated earlier, given the company is headquartered in Chicago, it is feasible they would want an agency with a strong local presence, such as Ogilvy PR, Ketchum, Edelman or Golin Harris.

Several agencies we contacted declined to comment as to not affect their standing with the company.

Audi Facing Potential PR Crisis Over Super Bowl Campaign

Our sibling blog AgencySpy points out a potential PR crisis for Audi in regards to their Super Bowl advertising and social media campaign: Green Police.

In the Audi campaign, the Green Police are “officers” that appear in a series of mock PSAs to teach people how to make better choices to protect the environment. However, the Green Police also refers to a group that was affiliated with Nazi persecution and execution of millions of Jews during World War II.

One can imagine that the connection is the last thing Audi, a German company, would want to have made in regards to its new campaign.

However, not everyone thinks the campaign is a crisis communications emergency. “I think it’s a stretch to say it’s fatal to the campaign. I think that’s overblown,” said Hill & Knowlton US Director of Risk Management and Crisis Communication Chris Gidez.

“A lot will depend on how compelling the campaign is,” he said.

Help A Reporter Out Founder Peter Shankman disagrees. He said on Twitter, “Nothing good can ever come from a PR campaign involving Nazis.” Indeed, one would think that even the potential risk of such an association would deter the brand from choosing Green Police as the title of their campaign.

Regardless, Audi would “rather have this problem than Toyota’s problem,” said Gidez, referring to that car maker’s massive recall currently under way.

Ketchum Merges Change Practice with Stromberg Consulting

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Six months after the big Omnicom (NYSE: OMC) shop Ketchum merged with Pleon in Europe, the two are combining their management consulting divisions in to one practice, with CEOs and global business directors on each continent. Pleon’s Change & Transformation practice will combine with Stromberg, the U.S. management consultancy acquired by Ketchum in 2001, to become Ketchum Pleon Change.

Global business director Tyler Durham told PRNewser last night that the venture brings together over 40 professionals entirely dedicated to the offering and was done so to address the increasing globalization of Ketchum’s clients. Durham reports to KPC CEO David Rockland who also heads Ketchum’s Global Research Network. Durham joined Ketchum six years ago from Deloitte.

Durham believes the KPC division is the largest of its kind in a PR agency. Offerings include leadership, culture and values, strategy sharing, engagement and internal communications, M&A support, team and functional effectiveness, performance management, HR strategies, restructuring support, and learning environments, according to the press release.

The high-end offering keeps Ketchum closer to the C-suite in times of consolidation. As a rudimentary look employee moves on LinkedIn indicates, it competes directly with the storied management consultancies. Stromberg employees tend to come from Accenture and depart for Deloitte.

Spin the Agencies of Record

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Account wins in this edition of Spin the Agencies of Record include an aquarium/marine park, a copyright clearinghouse, a projector & flat panel TV company, a cloud-based email marketing solution, telecom expense management solutions, and a gym equipment company:

Trylon SMR obtains the rights to the Copyright Clearance Center (www.copyright.com) account

Springboard PR‘s client list gets a bounce with the addition of Quickcomm, FAVI Entertainment, and the Nurture Institute

MWW Group schools the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship in PR and social media as agency of record

VisionPoint Marketing breaks a sweat for US Fitness Products, for website design, SEO, paid search, and email marketing.

The EGC Group discovers the lost city of Riverhead NY and signs the Atlantis Marine World for marketing planning, creative, media planning, social media, and PR.

The Economist Adds Bylines (To Blogs)

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The Economist, famous in part because its stories have no bylines — and therefore don’t identify the author — has added bylines to the magazine’s blogs, FishbowlNY reports.

In an editor’s note, the publication justified the move, and said blogs are, “a place for individual writers to offer brief thoughts, trial balloons, scratchings on the back of an envelope and the like, and showcases some of the diversity of thought we have on the staff. The magazine, by contrast, is what happens when we put all of our heads together, and so should be considered as carrying the full editorial weight of The Economist.” Bylines will not be added to the magazine.

Overall, this move could help PR professionals, who have long been eager to track the works of The Economist‘s editorial staff.

In an interview with PRNewser this past August, The Economist NY Bureau Chief Matthew Bishop said of the “no-bylines” policy, “As an individual journalist, I would prefer to have my own name on my work. But what that does is insulate the journalist from rigorous debate and accountability that is in The Economist. Any article I propose I have to be ready to argue it through with my editor and also my colleagues. Because we don’t have our name on the article, we all stand and fall by all of the content.”

Political PR Players Debate State of the Union

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Powerhouse D.C.-based public relations firm Qorvis Communications hosted a conference call this morning to review and analyze President Obama’s State of The Union address, which he delivered last night.

Qorvis partner and former Policy and Communications Director for U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) Rich Masters said the speech was “closer to what Ronald Reagan wanted to do” when he had to turn around low poll approval numbers after his first year in office. Reagan’s State of The Union after his first year “was more combative,” he said.

In comparison, “Clinton, in his first year came out and said, ‘We screwed up, we have to recalibrate,’ and then took smaller bites at the larger ideas they had.”

When evaluating the administration’s communications team, Masters said, “I think Gibbs and his team did a good job.”

“The Obama White House understands that communications has really changed. A vast majority of people didn’t view this speech, but a lot of them will watch coverage and even more will find it online. By 10 p.m. last night, individual sound clips were taken out and pushed out in social media. If the only policy you care about in middle America is energy, you can find what President said on energy.”

However, Masters also had praise for the GOP, saying that they “did a much better job this year compared to last year in their communications strategy.” The Republican rebuttal was presented by newly-elected Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Last year of course was the disastrous rebuttal by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Karen Hanretty, managing director at Qorvis and former Communications Director at the National Republican Congressional Committee said the President’s speech “didn’t give you a lot to hold onto” if you are a moderate Democrat. This group “needs to distance themselves from the President and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” she said.

Hanretty also wasn’t impressed by the PR roll-out. “The President gives speeches all the time,” she said. Adding, “this wasn’t a difficult speech.”

In regards to McDonnell’s rebuttal, Hanretty said he was a “rock star” and “the right guy to have out there.”

Poll: What Should You Do When Potential Clients Ask For a “Plan” In Advance of Hiring

The question has been posed before, but we feel it is worth asking again. Agencies: what do you do when a potential client wants a “free tactical plan” before making a decision to hire you?

PR professionals: what do you do when in the interview process the hiring manager asks you the same question?

This dilemma was recently brought up by Nicole Jordan, Director, PR & Communications at online advertising company Rubicon Project. A friend of hers was asked to give a “tactical plan” to a company who would then wait one to two months before deciding whether or not to hire him or her.

This leads to our latest poll question:

What Would You Do When A Prospective Client Or Employer Asks Your For A Tactical Plan Before Making A Decision?(survey software)

Brooke Hammerling on iPad: ‘Are there any women in Apple marketing?’

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As PRNewser noted yesterday, Apple’s latest product release, the iPad tablet computer had already been widely mocked for its name.

Some women marketers seem to agree.

“Are there any women in Apple marketing?” asked Brooke Hammerling, founder of Brew Media Relations, in The New York Times. “The first impression of every single woman I’ve spoken to is that it’s cringe-inducing. It indicates to me that there wasn’t a lot of testing or feedback.”

And some don’t.

“In three months’ time, if it delivers on its promise, no one’s going to remember that they chuckled about it,” Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at Landor Associates told the Times.

We’re curious to hear your take. Did the iPad launch live up to the hype? Does the name have any effect on what you think of the product or if you will buy one?

The Ticker: iPad presser; 25 tips; Socnet traffic; WSJ in NYC; Bloomberg in DC

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