Michelin Responds

In the spirit of equal time, Michelin’s director of Public Relations for North America has responded to our post on the company’s RFP:

“I know the RFP process can be long and involved. However, we at Michelin believe it is very important to be thorough. We seek long-term partnerships, not short-term programs. Finding the best fit — from a corportate culture, ability, creativity, mindset, etc. etc. perspective — takes time. We very much appreciate each agency who participated and we are confident that this thorough process has brought the best result. And, perhaps if RFPs are to be “hated” the best solution is to make sure that they don’t have to be repeated anytime soon. Taking the time to make the right choice for a long-term partner, as Michelin has done, is for us the best option.”

— Lynn Mann
Director of Public Relations, North America

Congrats to Al Lewis

Congratulations to Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis, who won the “Best Business Column” award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for the second year in a row. Among the columns reviewed for the award was his piece on “Flacks Gone Wild,” also known as “Why Spend a Little Extra Money to Hire a Veteran PR Executive? Because He Won’t Create a Story By Arguing with Nutjob Protesters in the Parking Lot of the Marriott City Center.”  

I’m Senior … They Even Let Me Meet Our Clients Face-to-Face

Occasionally, as a service to our valuable readers, we take emails that we receive and, well, we’ll just say it: convert them from delusional ramblings and random threats to more thoughtful, well-reasoned statements. In response to our recent post about the PRSA awards judging, the following thought has been expressed by a number of readers, albeit some more eloquently than others:

Five years of experience DOES NOT make someone “senior” level.

The actual emails supporting that concept ranged from, “Would five years make you a senior architect or lawyer?” to “Suggesting that five years of experience makes you ‘senior-level’ and qualified to judge industry awards just reinforces PR’s image as facile publicists and event planners.” Ouch. 

Linhart PR Seeks Account Executive

Denver-based Linhart PR, recently recognized by PR Week as one of the top three small PR firms in the nation, is seeking a smart, energetic, results-oriented account executive to help develop and deliver PR programs for clients in health care, professional services and other sectors. The ideal candidate will have three to five years of PR experience, including PR firm experience; or a comparable amount of newsroom experience as a working journalist. 

He or she will have strong media relations, writing and project management skills.  Health care experience is preferred.  A bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or PR is required.  Candidates must enjoy working in a dynamic, friendly team setting where good relations with clients and colleagues are prized. Linhart PR offers a highly competitive compensation package, including salaries benchmarked against local and national PR firms; quarterly cash bonuses; and a comprehensive benefits plan.  We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and have been named one of the best PR firms to work for by The Holmes Report.

Candidates should send a resume, including a description of qualifications, along with references, three brief writing samples and salary requirements to info@linhartpr.com.

Senior PR Professionals Needed for Awards Judging

From PRSA Colorado: On March 28 and March 31, the PRSA Colorado chapter is looking for senior-level (with five or more years of PR experience) to judge the Ohio PRism Award entries. Judges receive a $10 Starbucks gift card, and lunch will be provided during both sessions. To sign up (or for more information), contact Maggie McMonigle at maggie@praco.com.


Friday, March 28, Session
At PRACO’s office
10 a.m. to Noon 

Monday, March 31, Session
At Schenkein’s office
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.



Is There a Denver PR Recession?

It is hard to tell exactly what effect the recession is having on the public relations industry so far. Like a lot of other economic bellwethers, the PR-specific information seems inconclusive and often contradictory. PR Week has speculated in the last few weeks that the economic fears have frozen employment at a number of PR agencies, but hasn’t yet resulted in significant layoffs. Locally, it is just as muddled.

One trend that may be an indicator, though, is that Andrew Hudson reports he is seeing an increase in the number of people posting to the “People for Hire” section of his Web site. Let’s hope that is just an indication of the continuing growth in the traffic to his Web site rather than a sign that more people are out on the streets job-hunting these days. If you are one of the ones posting to the site, there is some encouraging news: Andrew has been surprised by how many companies hire individuals based on their profiles. And if you plan to post your profile, be succinct. Says Andrew, “God rewards good writing, brevity and creativity.”

So, let’s all take a moment to silently thank him for creating his PR Jobs List, which is one of the greatest resources ever created for Denver PR people.

Free PR Salary Tip of the Week …

First Data has long had a reputation as being a tough place for PR people to work, and it looks like the KKR acquisition hasn’t made it any easier. The Denver Post profiled the company this weekend and noted that additional layoffs are likely, and yet today Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List has a Director of Communications position open there. But typical First Data — they are lowballing the salary at $75-$100K.

Here is our free PR salary tip of the week: you should be able to negotiate $150K+ for a Director of Communications position at a sizable company such as First Data.

With that, the others hiring this week include Pure Brand, Xcel, Western Union, Arrow Electronics, Colorado Ballet, Digital Globe, Jackson Life Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Regis Jesuit High School, Rose Medical Center, and U.S. Paralympics.

Is Johnny Knoxville Headed to Microsoft?

You had to figure that dramatic changes were coming to Microsoft’s advertising when the company selected Boulder- and Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its AOR for its consumer account. After all, you don’t bring in one of the edgiest advertising agencies just to have them riff on processing speeds. Valleywag reports that Microsoft is considering Jackass‘ Johnny Knoxville as its next pitchman.   

GBSM is Looking for an Associate

GBSM is looking for an associate with at least a few years of experience (preferably on the agency or consulting side). According to GBSM, “We don’t hire very often, and our standards are quite high for intelligence, current affairs and media knowledge, research and communications skills, project management and personality fit. For the right person, we’re offering a rare opportunity to take their abilities and career to the next level. We realize that the best people in town are already employed and indispensable, so we’re very big on protecting people’s confidentiality in these matters.” Anyone interested should contact Steven Silvers, principal, or Raleigh Decker, HR manager.

‘Multitasking’ Comes to 9News

Layoffs and buy-outs have been rampant at Denver’s media outlets over the past year, so we all knew consequences would be coming. We blogged about the Rocky Mountain News jamming its local section with articles from other newspapers because it has fewer reporters, and now Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details of KUSA/Channel 9’s efforts to do more with fewer people.

Says KUSA GM Mark Cornetta, “In the old world, one person shot a story, another edited  it, a third told the story. In the new world, one person would be reporter/photojournalist/editor and producer for TV and the Web.” So what is next for KUSA/Channel 9? Maybe this:

Colorado Communicators Conference — April 10-11

The Colorado Municipal League and DRCOG are sponsoring the two-day Colorado Communicators Conference April 10-11. The conference targets communications professionals (PR, PIOs, etc.) and features speakers such as ARCADIS VP of Corporate Communications Andrew Hudson, former KUSA-TV anchor Ed Sardella and GBSM’s Steven “Steve” Silvers. Cost is $150 (but Silvers promises that your $/PowerPoint Slide ratio will be quite low).

Has the DBJ Dropped its Rankings of Denver PR Agencies?

A reader emailed us that the Denver Business Journal has dropped its annual ranking of Denver PR agencies because it no longer trusts the numbers provided by the agencies and is tired of hearing complaints from those challenging other agencies’ numbers. Representatives from PRSA and several of the larger agencies in town are reportedly going to meet Thursday to discuss how they can change DBJ Publisher Neil Westergaard’s mind.

Denver Post Remains Silent on its Screw-ups

Sadly, Kacey Fine Furniture president Leslie Fishbein appears to have no chance of recovery. While her family and friends cope with the senseless tragedy, and the investigations as to how this happened continue, the Denver Post still has not explained how it mismanaged the story so badly.

Three days ago, Joey Bunch and Kieran Nicholson at the Denver Post erroneously reported that Fishbein had died, citing a broadcast allegedly made by Fishbein family friend and radio host Peter Boyles. Later, the Post deleted that story and replaced it with news that Fishbein was alive, but on life support. No retraction or correction was issued, and the Post simply acted as though the initial article had never appeared.

Adding insult, the initial Post article’s headline described Fishbein as a “busineswoman, socialite.” While Fishbein was active in the Denver charity scene, so are Pete Coors and Dave Lininger. And I doubt the Post would describe them as “businessmen and socialites.” 

UPDATE: I exchanged emails with Denver Post reporter Joey Bunch, and he was not involved in the erroneous report of Fishbein’s death. I assume his byline was on the piece because he contributed some of the background information.

Denver Agencies Show Growth in Annual O’Dwyer Rankings

If you see Gwin Johnston around town, make sure she buys you the drink. O’Dwyer released its annual rankings of PR agencies, and the Denver-area agencies disclosing their 2007 numbers were:

102. JohnstonWells — $3.04 M in 2007 revenue (+36%); 24 employees
106. Linhart PR — $2.85 M in 2007 revenue (+35%); 18 employees
118. GroundFloor Media — $2.30 M in 2007 revenue (+37%); 11 employees
137. Turner PR — $1.80 M in 2007 revenue (+20%); 12 employees
164. Catapult — $0.95 M in 2007 revenue (+3%); 6 employees

We’ll have to wait for the next Denver Business Journal list of PR firms to see where the holdouts (we mean you, Schenkein, GBSM, VisiTech, MGA, Metzger, et al.) are. Overall, the O’Dwyer list is encouraging. Most agencies are showing good growth, and JohnstonWells topping $3 million in revenue locally is a milestone.  

Was Ayers PR a Back-Door, Zero-Dollar Acquisition?

Sydney Ayers’ decision to leave the firm she runs with her father, Rendall, to join Arment Dietrich is starting to look like it was actually a back-door, zero-dollar acquisition. Arment Dietrich’s Denver office — 1660 Lincoln St., Suite 1550 — occupies the same space Ayers PR formerly (or maybe currently?) does, and Arment Dietrich has now announced the hiring of Liz Pope as account coordinator. Pope formerly worked at — you guessed it — Ayers PR.

So Arment Dietrich gets Ayers, her real-estate and at least some of her employees. We hope Rendall, who is a true gentleman and one of Denver’s great PR class acts, has his next steps figured out. It may be to quietly ride off into the sunset. 

Rocky Mountain Roundup

If you want coverage in the Rocky Mountain News, you might consider pitching reporters at the Boulder Daily Camera, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the Associated Press. The Rocky’s recent staff cuts, combined with its article-sharing agreements with other Colorado newspapers, means that as much as 40 percent of its local news is generated by reporters not at the paper. 

Few Denver PR Agencies Are Walking the Walk

The amount of lip service public relations agencies give to new media, social media, Web 2.0, etc., is stunning. It seems you can’t sit through a pitch these days without listening to agencies explain how “critical it is to connect directly — and unfiltered — with your target audiences.” 

So we thought it might be interesting to examine how many Denver PR agencies practice what they preach even at the most basic levels. What we found surprised us. Of the 32 agencies we checked, only seven had blogs, and even those seven had great disparities in how often posts appeared and how easy it was to find their blogs. So here is the honor roll:

  • Pure Brand — 45 posts to its blog since January 1. We found this blog to be the most varied and interesting, with a lot of quick hits on a number of PR and advertising issues.
  • Schenkein — 25 posts since January 1. The Schenkein blog disappeared for a while, but was resuscitated by Elaine Ellis at the end of January. Since then, it has made a strong showing.
  • Story + Welch — 21 posts since January 1. We found this to be the smartest blog, with a lot of analysis about business issues (not just PR issues). But mixed in with those lengthier pieces are some amusing quick hits.
  • Metzger — 19 posts since January 1. Originally, we missed Metzger’s blog because it isn’t linked from the agency’s Web site (or if it is, we still haven’t found it), but fortunately a reader emailed us the URL. 
  • GBSM — 8 posts since January 1. For GBSM, we counted Steven Silver’s Scatterbox blog, which offers an array of opinions on topics that interest Silvers ranging from elder care to HBO’s Inside the NFL. Our only complaint is how infrequently he posts.
  • JohnstonWells — 6 posts since January 1. A mix of JW and industry news, it is not uncommon for the blog to go almost a month without a new post. 
  • GroundFloor Media — 3 posts since January 1. The GFM blog offers updates (albeit sparingly) on interesting firm and client projects.

Steven Silvers/GBSM had already found his way into our blogroll, but we will be adding the blogs from Pure Brand, Schenkein, Story + Welch and Metzger because of their commitment to blogging frequently on interesting topics.

NOTE: Post updated 3/9/2008 @ 1:04 p.m. 

KMGH/Channel 7’s Steve Saunders Engaged

Those of us who’ve been around Denver for a while remember with sadness the death of Emmy award-winning television producer Pam Saunders. Saunders was the wife of KMGH/Channel 7 anchor Steve Saunders (and daughter-in-law of former Rocky Mountain News television columnist Dusty Saunders). Bill Husted at the Denver Post reports that Steve has become engaged and will marry this summer.

Edelman Merges Units; Strives for “Authentic Communications”

Edelman will merge its three digital practices — Edelman Interactive Solutions, me2revolution and Edelman Mobile. We’re guessing the move was made to create greater synergies and highlight the firm’s global leadership and world-class service, or some such public relations bullshit. We’re sure it has nothing to do with one or more of the units underperforming. Additionally, and we’re not making this up, Edelman is now “staking its claim” to “Authentic Communications.” I guess “authentic communications” is the opposite of the work it did for Wal-Mart.

What’s Next? Darrent Williams’ Murder: The Musical!

One of the downsides to being a convention town is that you get a lot of kooks passing through. That will be the case this weekend, when Denver hosts the Left Coast Crime Convention. Denver novelist Mario Acevedo (surely you’ve read his The Nymphos of Rocky Flats or The Undead Kama Sutra) will capitalize on the convention by cranking up the “Denver Murder Machine,” a bus tour of famous Denver murder spots, including 12th & Speer where former Bronco Darrent Williams died.