Posted by Amanda Chapel
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Edelman's Secret THRUST Project Confirmed
CHICAGO - Well, fact is, you've likely heard a least some of this: The latest flash-fire rumor to spread throughout the Metaverse is that PR's first blogger has suddenly bolted LA. This just in... the enigmatic Phil Gomes, Senior Counsel for Online Communications at Edelman, one of the largest PR firms in the world, has suddenly left Los Angeles for Chicago. Rumor has it that Gomes, inventor of the SMPR-knockoff StoryMakerUpper 1.0™, is moving here to lead a top-secret Manhattan-likeproject at the agency's HQ.
Some insiders were quick to characterize the statement as a masterstroke of old-school crisis communications on Edelman's part. Who could argue with Gomes’ need for education? But today, this type of strategic obfuscation often backfires. Gomes' statement has only served to raise speculation and fuel rumor.
To a person, everyone has totally discounted that the move as being client related. That said, the two most widely believed reasons for the move include:
1. Under intense criticism, Rick Murray head of Edelman's faux Me2Revolution Practice wants to reel Gomes in. As an accepted management practice, it is far easier to control a loose-canon in the home office than out in some satellite. Obviously, firing a blogger is no longer a realistic alternative due to the huge potential fallout as a consequence of blogging.
2. The economics are no longer feasible. CEO Richard Edelman has given this experiment a year to produce and has seen very little return. Few clients are buying this anti-corporate blog nonsense. Also, with the addition of Gary Goldhammer as Vice President, Interactive Solutions in the LA office, the margins are way too thin to support the redundancy two bald bloggers there.
But with Gomes having over nine years experience in PR, along with a B.A. in Communications from Saint Mary’s College, we suspected that there was a lot more going on here. We did a little investigation and got this inside scoop.
Gomes' move is part of Edelman's new massive development project, the "Trust Thermometer." Code named THRUST, this is to be a companion to Edelman's renowned Trust Barometer. Rather that the outward-facing loosely-qualitative assessment of various “influencers” about their bogus opinions as a publicity stunt, the Thermometer will be able to gauge quantifiably the level of a client's gullibility and billing tolerance. This is expected to revolutionize the PR business.
For the record, on a condition of anonymity, an insider told us that “it has been quite difficult to get a few clients to try the new product.” Our source said: “It is highly sensitive. As part of the program, we’ve made every assurance that THRUST will be administered ONLY by a registered nurse."
THRUST is currently being beta tested by Gomes along with Elizabeth, Kristi and Stephanie from Auburn University. It is expected that THRUST will be ready for release in the Fall of ’07.