Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dog and Cat Food Scare Prompts Crisis PR

The Inside News of PR and Marketing
- March 22, 2007
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National PR Guides Huge Pet Food Recall
Canada PR firm called in to support Menu
Foods, the pet food supplier enmeshed in a
60-million unit recall.

Thu., March 22

MWW, Bell Pottinger Assist Dubai Defense Bid
Dubai, seeking rebound from aborted ports deal,
makes play for jet parts maker.
Thu., March 22 updated 11:42AM

New Book:
Turning Crisis World Upside Down

Eric Dezenhall and John Weber turn
the crisis world upside down in
"Damage Control: Why Everything
You Know About Crisis Management
is Wrong." Exxon is praised for handling
Valdez oil spill, while Johnson & Johnson
is knocked for its handling of Tylenol recall.

Thu., March 22

Audi Set to Select PR Firm
Three firms vie for Audi of America account. Celebrity push
is among priorities for Volkswagen unit.

Tue., March 20

F-H Adds Former Senator Talent
Jim Talent, the former Missouri Senator who
lost his seat to Democrat Claire McCaskill in
the November election, has joined
Fleishman-Hillard as a co-chairman in its
government relations unit.

Wed., March 21

Nevada Issues RFP for Tourism PR
Silver State's tourism commission reviews
six-figure national account.

Mon., March 19

* * Subscriber access only below **

Public Relations:
Known PR Knowns
Fraser SeitelBy Fraser P. Seitel
There are "known knowns" in PRland.

PR pros know Alberto is gonzo. Chuck is DOA. Hillary is doomed.
Mon., March 19

Commentary archive >>
Pitch op-ed pieces to:

Caplan Communications
Promotes Carson 'Revival'

Caplan Communications is gearing up for
Earth Day with a push for books written
by and about Rachel Carson
Thu., March 22

JFWBF Aids Bid to Revamp NYT Stock
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
joined Morgan Stanley activist fund manager
Hassan Elmasry's campaign to pressure the
New York Times Co. to drop its two-tier stock
system, a set-up that gives the Sulzberger
family control over the $3.3B media combine.

Wed., March 21

New Book:
Biz Can Do Much
for U.S. Image Abroad

Dick Martin, executive VP
of PR at AT&T from 1997-2002,
says in Rebuilding Brand America
that U.S. business leaders must
accept the challenge of reversing
the downturn in America's image abroad.

Wed., March 21

Ketchum's Schellhardt Defects to Edelman
Tim Schellhardt, who was senior VP/editorial services
at Ketchum since '01, has exited that post for a similar
one at Edelman.

Tue., March 20

Rasky Baerlein Handles Raided Pentagon Contractor
Rasky Baerlein represents Pentagon contractor that
was raided by hundreds of federal immigration officials.
RendonGroup lends a hand.

Mon., March 19

Media Notes Ryan takes Balt Sun pub post... L.A. Times'
to WaPo... NBCU's Campbell to Discovery...Bernstein
Air America... Newspaper ad revs flat in '06...
launches real talk...

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Business And Financial Writers of Entertainment Speak Out

Entertainment Publicists Professional Society Hollywood Workshop Reveals The Secrets
Pitching The Business Side of Entertainment

By George S. Mc Quade III,
West Coast Bureau Chief

“Business and finance beats are not much different from celebrity journalism, because you have films, film deals, the finance guy and where the films are heading,” Hollywood Reporter Business Writer Carl Diorio told about 75 publicists at an Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) Business Wire-sponsored event, held at the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG Local 600) auditorium in Hollywood recently (3-15-07). “Know your writers preferences. I hate phone pitches from some I don’t know about a client I don’t care about. I appreciate email pitches first,” he said.

(left to right) Dan Cox, LABJ, Dave McNary, Variety,
Sue Cox,Reuters, Carl Diorio, Hollywood Reporter
and Ron Grover, BusinessWeek.

Business Week went through a transition recently, and is thinking more different,” explained Ron Grover, LA bureau Chief since 1986, who started out covering six major studios and three TV networks. Today, he handles much of BusinessWeek’s media coverage west of the Mississippi. “I used to only write about celebrities New York knows, but now we have kids and MySpace, and people of all color on the cover of our magazine” Grover covers Hollywood, a burgeoning number of cable networks, cable TV, satellite operators, online media sites like YouTube and new media distribution methods such as movie downloads, high definition DVDs and wireless networks like Qualcomm’s Media-Flo. Before moving to LA, Grover was Business Week’s White House correspondent and while in Washington he also covered the energy beat. He worked for the Washington Post before joining BusinessWeek.

Variety's Dave McNary says the Internet is a challenge

Variety has also gone through an evolution of changes thanks to the Internet. “Variety is still trying to the basic mission, putting out fast news and sometimes we act like a wire service,” said Dave McNary who covers film, labor and International box office. “I write on people who work in the business of indepensible news, and often we posting breaking stories at night. for the next day. And we’re still interested in exclusives, which is why we hold off until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. We’re still addressing the Internet challenge,” he said. McNary also said he was astounded over how many people are concerned on where their story ends up whether it is on page one or five.

Sue Zeidler, Reuters says it has to be a big deal to get notice

“You have general news one side and films and publicly traded companies pitching artists and entertainment, and it is a hard sell,” said Sue Zeidler, who has been on the financial desk for Reuters since 1985, including 10 years covering everything from energy to commodities to treasuries on the New York financial desk. Since 1995, Zeidler has been working in the LA bureau as part of the media industry team, focusing on the music and radio industries, and she also helps with Hollywood events such as movie junkets to the Oscars. “Unless you have a big deal like a big crossover story or big trend that might impact the whole net and global financial investors good luck.”

“Leave the color to the writer and cut to the who, what, when and where with respect to the control of the business writer,” offered Dave McNary, who has worked at Variety Since 1999, covering film, labor and international box office. When asked for good publicists tactics he said," I really respect the job of PR and entertainment publicists have become more sophisticated, they’re good to deal with and have a long set of patience. We are decidedly wound tight, and I really appreciate it when a publicist calls and asks me if I’m on deadline. 90 percent of the time I’m not on deadline, but there are times when I have to put people off for 15 minutes or an hour to finish a story.” McNary previously worked at UPI, the LA Daily News, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, City News Services and the Pasadena Star news.

“You really need to know the numbers,” Dan Cox, LA business Journal warned. The award-winning journalist worked for Reuters news Agency, Variety/Daily Variety, New York Post, CBS news, City news of Los Angeles and The Los Angeles Business Journal.

“Why won’t you tell us the revenue stream when you say your have a successful company?” The LABJ only covers LA based business stories, and Cox recounted the time when Google opened its Santa Monica office, he had to really convince the newspaper to cover the story.

“We love exclusives and even though we have weekly deadlines, we also use the LABJ website for breaking news,” explained Cox.

So do others financial writers and editors. “You hope more for exclusives, and we compete with the Wall Street Journal,” said BusinessWeek’s Grover. “However, know your publications. BusinessWeek doesn’t care about the new car dealer opening in Orange County. Know your audience, too.”

“We like exclusives, but they have become more complicated with the Internet. We compete with Variety for the labor stories, and sometimes I will ask a publicist to hold off until 10 p.m. to release. A lot of what we do is horse-trading. If I have an ongoing relationship with a publicist, the exclusive control lends to a better feel of where the story will be in the layout,” explain Diorio.

A lot of eyebrows were raised about the blogosphere, too. “TMZ has become a celebrity source for us,” said Reuters Sue Zeidler. For awhile it was BusinessWeek Online and Forbes Online, now everything is leaked out.”

LABJ’s Dan Cox also warned publicists about blogs and loyalty on exclusives. “We had a good deal with the New York Times to do a film story, but then the story landed on the Nick Fink Blog and it ran in the New York Post. The New York Times opted out of doing the story, and we missed the exclusive.”

The panelists advise an email pitch first, before sending pictures, trailers or media kits. “Why overnight press kits? We are a weekly,” said BusinessWeek’s Grover. “I take the new release out and throw the rest away,” said Reuters Sue Zeidler. “We like everything in those media kits,” said LABJ’s Dan Cox. And Variety‘s Dave McNary said, “they can be useful to questions, and I don’t have a problem with being overwhelmed with information. Email Contacts: Dan Cox:; Dave MNary,; Sue Zeidler,; Carl Diorio; and Ron Grover,

MAYO PR - "We don't guarantee media, we just get it!"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Creating A Buzz For Your Business

Value of Public Relations

Promoting Your Business and Clients

By George McQuade

Corporate and nonprofit groups misunderstand the media, which can help you or hurt you. The media is in the business of telling stories, not promoting companies, products or nonprofits. When you help the media gather information, interview experts, provide images and whatever it takes to get the story done you strike gold. If you're quoted, then you'll get promoted.

There are only so many hot new products or breakthrough trends and achievements with which a business or nonprofit can capture a journalist's attention. Don't wait until a crisis or the unexpected happens near your company, because it takes a long time to rebuild your CEO, company or client image. Exxon learned the hard way. It waited a week to talk to the media. Former Police Chief Daryl Gates waited several days after KTLA aired the most riveting videotaped beating by LAPD of Rodney King before commenting on police conduct. That officer's trial verdict later led to the Los Angeles Riots.

I have experienced crisis on both sides of the media line covering everything from the LA Riots, wildfires, floods, earthquakes to the Beverly Hills cop-slapping trial of Actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

There are five simple steps to help you create a buzz or market your organization:

1.The Internet - one of the most under utilized communications is your website, search engines, blogs, directories and there are a lot of free services for websites, directories, large and small business.

2.Newsletters/ezines (electronic newsletters) help announce business developments and activities

3.Public Speaking - When you speak on current issues or "hot button" topics at a business luncheon or event you're making your company and yourself newsworthy.

4.News releases and a calendar of events about your company or activities alert editors about your company and you become a future resource.

5.Word of Mouth - mixers, meetings, Toastmasters, Rotary clubs, fundraisers and other business events you're invited to are great places to create a buzz about your business and activities."

To make PR work for your CEO or your business, you need to help a reporters create a story that not only fits your business, but fulfills their assignment. For example, when a breaking story on a new product or crisis is reported, editors search for people who can talk about them from prevention to just to simplifying how a process or product works. When former President Ronald Reagan died journalists scrambled for experts or doctors who could talk about Alzheimer's disease.

If you have a great invention like a new, stronger window wiper blade that last longer, you certainly wouldn't announce it on a sunny day. Why not announce it on a rainy day?

Exposing your company to the media is one of the most valuable things your company can do. You educate customers, stakeholders, prospects and other important audiences on your company, your product, service and, and you get them to start talking about them.

I can count on my fingers the number of corporate and government CEO's and managers who really believe that the media is out to get them. Journalists are really out to get their story. Most reporters have no interest in making you look bad, but they do look for controversy, which often stems from misinformation from people with their own agenda or the company's competition. This is one more reason to return media phone calls so you can set the record straight. Reporters who earn reputations as being too unfair will find it increasingly difficult to get those great interviews, and therefore, the good stories. Building a solid media relationship is critical to surviving any company crisis, too.

Reporters do look for controversy or the unusual angles. "An editor will tell you that controversy makes for more interesting stories; however reporters who research one side of an issue without seeking an opposing view aren't doing their jobs. In any credible newsroom, a story without of balance won't make it past the editor.

The media is literally the last concern that nonprofits, new business startups and big corporations think about when planning events, and until it is too late. And when a crisis strikes or when the media is interested investigating a CEO or company, they're not prepared. You never know when a shooting or major fire happens right outside your business, and then media arrive. I've had CBS 60 Minutes show up on a boring day, boring meeting, but on a controversial story. By downplaying the story and offering a bigger or better one, sometimes you can dissuade them from doing a hit piece on your agency. SSE

George McQuade is vice president of MAYO Communications, Los Angeles, and the West Coast Bureau correspondent for Jack O'Dwyer Publications ( and board member of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) (
Visit:; or

MAYO Communications & MAYO PR
Phone: 818-340-5300

This article will also be published in a national management magazine.

MAYO PR - "We don't guarantee media, we just get it!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Independent PR Growing Nationally

Many independents are growing at a 20 percent and 30 percent clip by offering a variety of marketing and PR services...silence at PRSA, nationally and locally, is enforced by an elaborate system of carrots and sticks.

Wed., March 7


by Jack O'Dwyer

The 2006 ranking of independent PR firms published on this website shows the continued growth of the independent PR counseling business.

We talked to owners, executives and staffers at dozens of these firms in the past few weeks and we’re impressed not only with the growth of their businesses but with their good spirits.

They’re happy and expressive, just like PR people are supposed to be.

Their growth rate surpasses that of the conglomerate-owned PR firms. The growth rate of WPP’s PR firms is six percent and for PR firms owned by Omnicom, somewhat under 10 percent.

WPP reports that PR income grew an additional six percent because of acquisitions. OMC, which spends heavily on acquisitions, does not say how much of the 10 percent is from that. Interpublic, No. 3, does not break out PR and neither do Publicis and Havas.

Many of the holding company PR firms now won’t release account lists nor make announcements of new accounts or new executives.

This blanket of silence is harmful not only to them but to the PR counseling industry. We don’t see it changing any time soon. Ad industry culture is not to lift a finger without the permission of the client. PR culture is to see PR as a bridge between client and public, with duties towards both.

Some academics seem puzzled by the silence of PRSA national board members, chapter presidents, district leaders, ethics board members at the national and chapter levels, section leaders, etc., despite criticism of PRSA’s financial reporting by three accounting professors; lack of democracy (only APRs can run for national office); refusal of leaders to supply transcripts of Assemblies; lack of a staff CPA; failure to report nearly $2 million on staff time on the annual conference; refusal to defer dues income; removal of $2.5M in administrative costs from 13 categories of spending; refusal of new COO Bill Murray to disclose his salary; the collapse of the APR program (PRSA added 123 APRs in 2006 after adding 116 in 2005), and the cancellation of the printed members’ directory without the knowledge or permission of the members.

The answer is that anyone in “leadership” is co-opted by an elaborate system of favors and punishments that PRSA national has at its command. Veteran members know this system well.

“Carrots” include new business and job tips that pour into h.q. and that are not posted on the PRSA website where they belong. “Favorites” get them. The way to get off this “favored” list is to oppose national in any way or help the press about PRSA.

Counselors as well as corporate members and PR professors want these tips.

Also desired by chapter and district leaders are the scores of resume-enhancing national committee chair appointments that are given out each year; national conference speaking assignments, of which there are more than 100 (with publicity and reduced fees for the speakers); appointment to key committees such as Silver Anvil judging; appointment as speakers at the more than 100 on-site seminars and teleseminars that PRSA stages throughout the year, some carrying hefty fees (James Lukaszewski made $60,000 in one year by conducting such sessions), and approval of travel, meal and hotel budgets by national staff and leadership. Ex-presidents, who get free conference passes for life ($1,000 yearly) and free national membership for life, don’t complain.

Any employee of a PR firm who challenges national risks exclusion of the firm and its principals from the PRSA “goody bag.” Any chapter member who does this risks ostracism by chapter officers and members. Presidents-elect of the 110 chapters take $500 each year in “walking around money” from national for use at the annual (since 1999) “Leadership Rally” on a weekend in June in New York. Total budget for the weekend is $100,000.

The system of rewards/punishments extends to the PR media. Media that carry PRSA editorials word-for-word are rewarded with exclusives, invites to speak at PRSA events, and ads. PRSA, like Omnicom, is a subject that is off-limits to the New York Times ad column. Leaders of the PR Student Society of America are barred from speaking to the PR trade press. Students know this would about kill any chances of PRSA hooking them up with jobs. The students abjectly accept PRSA dominance of their website, learning only too early how to sacrifice principle for $$.

The result of this system is that chapter and district leaders are hog-tied and tongue-tied when it comes to national. The Ethics Board headed by Linda Cohen has said that under no circumstances will it criticize the national board. Only silence comes from the 110 chapters, all of which have ethics boards. Members of the current national PRSA board have promised never to speak in public or to the press about PRSA matters. This no doubt was a key condition for their nominations.

PRSA is thoroughly corrupt, led for too many years by solo practitioners or those who worked at one-person corporate PR offices. The last head of a major PR firm to lead PRSA was John Beardsley of Padilla Speer Beardsley in 1995. Members have been robbed of their printed directory, a caper condemned by nine of ten rank-and-file members that we talk to. This was the biggest heist in the history of PRSA and some members have vowed to overturn it. A close second is the robbery of New Yorkers of the use of h.q. by the move downtown. PRSA turned its back on its richest source of new members, cutting off its nose to spite its face.

The impact of this corruption on the PR industry is that PRSA is not available to provide an example of how good PR can be when blasts in the media take place such as an article in the NYT or ridicule from the Dilbert comic strip. It would be nice to point to PRSA as a model of good press relations; as a provider of timely and accurate financial reports; as a group that treats all members as equals; that has an active ethics process that condemns PR abuses, and has a president (or chair) who holds press conferences and answers all questions. Instead, PRSA is the embodiment of many of the evils that the press complains about.

Jack O'Dwyer is the publisher of O'Dwyer Publications, New York. It is the number one ranked by Google for original "public relations news."

MAYO PR - "We don't guarantee media, we just get it!"