From: 'Amanda Chapel'
Sent: Wed, 7-25-07, 11:58 AM
To: Janet Tyler, President, Airfoil; Andy Getsey, Co–founder/CEO, Atomic PR; Margery Kraus, President/CEO, APCO Worldwide; Neal Cohen, CEO/North America, APCO Worldwide; Brad Staples, CEO/Europe, APCO Worldwide; John Bliss, Principal, Bliss, Gouverneur & Associates; Andrea Coville, CEO, Brodeur; Harry Burson, Burson-Marsteller; Mark Penn, President & CEO, Burson Marsteller; Ken Eudy, CEO, Capstrat; Doug Spong, President, Carmichael Lynch Spong; Joel Curran, SVP and managing director, CKPR; Jens Bang, President/CEO, Cone; Andy Cooper Principal, CooperKatz & Company, Inc.; Thomas Coyne, President/CEO, Coyne PR; Barbara Bates, Co-Founder and Principal, Eastwick; Elaine Cummings, Co-Founder and Principal, Eastwick; Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman PR; Rick Murray, President, Me2Revolution; David Brain, CEO Europe, Edelman PR; Dave Senay, CEO, Fleishman-Hillard Inc.; Lisa Sepulveda, CEO, Euro RSCG Magnet; Declan Kelly, President & CEO, Financial Dynamics; Cos M. Mallozzi, President and CEO, Gibbs & Soell PR; Fred Cook, President and CEO, Golin/Harris International; Greg Matusky, president, Gregory FCA Communications; Paul Taaffe, CEO, Hill and Knowlton; Sabrina Horn, President, Horn Group; Shannon Latta, Partner, Horn Group; Kevin Lynch, principal and founding partner, HLB Communications; David Gallagher, CEO, Ketchum/London; Chris Lewis, CEO, Lewis PR; Ken Makovsky, President Makovsky + Company; Margaret Booth, President, M Booth & Associates; Mark Hass, CEO, Manning Selvage & Lee; Michael Kempner, CEO, MWW Group; Tim Dyson, CEO, Next Fifteen; Marcia Silverman, CEO, Ogilvy PR Worldwide; Lynn Casey, CEO, Padilla Speer Beardsley; Steve Cody, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Peppercom; Helen Ostrowski, CEO, Porter Novelli; Michael Petruzzello, Managing Partner, Qorvis; Peter Finn, CEO, Ruder Finn; Steve Schwartz, President and CEO, Schwartz Communications; Todd Defren, Principal, SHIFT Communications; Marc Hausman, President and CEO, Strategic Communications; Tony Signore, CEO, Taylor; Aedhmar Hines, CEO, Text 100; Lou Hoffman, President, The Hoffman Agency; Tony Sapienza, Partner, Topaz Partners; Paula Slotkin, Partner, Topaz Partners; Richard Cline, Founder and President, Voce Communications; Frank Shaw, President, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide; Harris Diamond, CEO, Weber Shandwick; Scott Widmeyer, Chairman, Widmeyer Communications, Inc.; Joe Clayton, President & CEO, Widmeyer Communications
Subject: An Open Letter to the Leadership of the PR Industry
Where are you?!! Listen... we had a Call to Action last week where we invited a number of you here to a critical debate about the future of our business. Not one showed up.
WELL, WE'RE ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGED! While there's a growing cancer in our industry, you (plural) seem bent on lining your pockets almost exclusively. Regrettably, a number of your peers are involved in activities that will surely kill our business. And when it goes to hell and you make off with your millions, we are the ones who will be left holding the bag.
Here... connect these dots: Edelman is out doing back flips trying to reduce us to direct marketers; the president of one of the leading "PR 2.0" firms says he cannot see a difference between PR and advertising anymore; there's a whole sub culture now in our business that's presently throwing communications expertise out the window and replacing it with base SEO techniques; you've got Hines proselytizing that we embrace the cartoon that is Second Life; you've got Kempner leading the way for us to legitimize blog bribery. And how 'bout the mainstream biz? You've got Torossian boasting about Girls Gone Wild, taking us from the "lying profession" to porn marketing services. It's unbelievable.
It all raises two simple questions: What won't you do for a dollar? Or preferably, when will you stand up?
Bottom line, the business has never been more pathetic and you are endorsing it with your silence. Used to be that once a year or so a major paper would variously satirize us; today, on Strumpette, there's something daily. Frankly, we cannot keep up.
IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE! Help us end the silence. Speak up now or forever hold you peace. We invite you to join us the concerned majority in an effort to reestablish the respected professional discipline of PR. No more obfuscation. We'd like each of you to stand up and show your support and especially your smarts.
TELL US! What should we do and how do you personally plan to lead us there?
Fresh on the heals of the Harpers Magazine sting operation where PR firm APCO Worldwide was seduced into courting Turkmenistan, one of central Asia's most repressive countries... now we've got one for real! A leading expert in international relations says that the Taliban is getting PR counsel. Can you guess who's their firm? Yikes!
"The now-ousted Taliban regime had once banned all forms of modern media — even photographs — but the militant Islamist group is now recording messages on video which it posts on the Internet. Some of the same Taliban leaders who ordered televisions smashed on the grounds that modern media is a satanic innovation, are now giving their phone numbers to select journalists and routinely assigning cameramen to record roadside bomb attacks. Last month, for example, the Taliban filmed a graduation ceremony for suicide bombers in which a Taliban commander urged scores of young men to launch attacks on four Western countries. The footage was then given to American television network ABC to guarantee maximum exposure in the West."
And their new communications strategy is working! "It's happening quite quickly and they are getting a big payoff for their efforts," McAuthur said.
- PR agencies take on controversial clients just like lawyers represent controversial public figures. We may not be under oath like an attorney, but we are believers in the First Amendment.
- Even large, respected companies have dirty laundry lists. It’s a sad reflection on the state of business in the US, but laying the blame on that company’s external service providers isn’t the answer. This is what PR folks do. We create and maintain positive perceptions for clients.
- You’re holding us to your own personal standards. If you were a gun control advocate, you’d have a similar reaction if we signed Heckler & Koch. If you were a staunch environmentalist, you’d gag if we signed General Electric. Hill & Knowlton represents the Bin Laden family. Does the fact that GE makes energy-saving light bulbs for American households absolve them for polluting the river and poisoning children?
Add to that, big international conglomerates are not moored necessarily to any national affiliation. Money is money. And if one firm won't take it, another firm will.
TAKE THE POLL
Directly below is a poll. Who do you think might be the Taliban's new PR Firm? Guess. (Note: Poll closed 6/30/07.)
The firms we offer here are the most likely suspects. They either have an international capability or can quickly fashion a network of firms. Also, it is in our opinion that the firms here would not necessarily be dissuaded by a suspension of human rights, the occasional beheading or the total annihilation of Israel. If you think another firm should be considered, please add it in the comments.
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
Kathleen Durazo about A Measly $2.8 Million Goes Missing, Lawsuit Results Fri, Jul 31, 10:58:34 AM Ray Durazo (the founder) sold the company to Dan in 1999. He was not involved in any of this. He (and I) found out about the lawsuit in the LA Times. In addition to embezzling this m [...]