Congratulations to Denver-based VisiTech Public Relations, which is a finalist for a PRSA Silver Anvil award for its work with Polycom. It may be a bittersweet honor, though, because we hear Polycom dropped VisiTech a couple of months ago as part of an agency review.
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
Bill Husted may have the lamest “Sightings” subject in the history of his column today: “Adam Foote at ESPN Zone for lunch Wednesday.”
A battle is brewing between the “Let’s Suck Up to Reporters So They’ll Like Us” and the “Reporters Can Rot in a Turkish Prison for All I Care” camps.
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.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
You know you are in trouble when a Colorado Avalanche beat writer calls you out for your public relations gaffe.
Veteran Re/Max public relations manager Jack Farrar was among 20 employees managing public relations and the company’s charitable operations who were let go this week as Re/Max continues to deal with the soft real-estate market. Re/Max Chairman Dave Lininger said the positions were vulnerable because they “did not affect the bottom line.”
I’d pay $1,000 to see this happen to KUSA/Channel 9’s Drew Soicher.
A spokeswoman at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital has confirmed that Kacey Fine Furniture president Leslie Fishbein died today.
A significant decline in its traditional local telephone business — the result of increasing cell phone usage — means that Qwest will cut approximately 700 jobs. The cuts, totaling roughly 2 percent of Qwest’s workforce, will be in the form of buy-outs starting March 27. The Denver Egotist blames it all on bad karma.
The economy must be hurting the big agencies, because 15 of them agreed to participate in an RFP for tire manufacturer Michelin’s consumer division that has now gone through four rounds and still is not completed. This seems like a good opportunity to link to The Agency’s Blog’s 10 Reasons Why I Hate RFPs.
LeGrand Hart has promoted Heather Lindemann to managing director. Lindemann previously was a vice president.
The Denver PR job market is a little light this week. Among those hiring: Schenkein, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, NREL, Guttau and Pinon Management.
If you are one of the purists who has saved your St. Patrick’s Day bar-hopping experience for Monday, Westword has tracked down Denver’s most authentic Irish bars.
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:
They’ll both screw you for $300 an hour. Okay, we’re not proud of that one. Anyway, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s fall from grace in a high-priced call-girl sting has whetted Westword’s appetite for the results of Denver’s medium-priced call-girl investigation. The best (i.e., most salacious) allegations are here.
Molson Coors plans to eliminate up to 390 jobs in its HR, IT and finance departments, and outsource the work to foreign Hewlett-Packard workers. Seriously. Roughly 130 of the soon-to-be-eliminated jobs are in Golden.
The Colorado Springs Independent takes Comcast to task for axing local public relations rep Sandra Mann. Does the editor of your local paper like you enough to write a column like this on your behalf? Me neither. This column does, however, give us a chance to gratuitously link to one of our favorite YouTube videos:
Coors Brewing Co. has named CarryOn Communications as its Agency of Record for its domestic brands. The account will be led out of Chicago.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations to Linhart PR, which was named an honorable mention in PR Week’s Small Agency of the Year category. Florida-based rbb walked away with the hardware, but Linhart has to be happy to be a finalist for this prestigious national award. And it gave them quite a platform to talk about their 31 percent revenue growth in 2007.
EchoStar/Dish Network has long had the reputation as one of the most difficult places for a public relations person to work in Denver, and this Rocky Mountain News article makes it sound like its not just tough in the PR department.
Sad news — Kacey Fine Furniture president Leslie Fishbein has died following complications from back surgery. Fishbein, 55, was most known for appearing in Kacey’s television and radio ads.
UPDATE: The Denver Post has now removed its online article about Fishbein passing away and instead is reporting that she is on life support. The original Post article can be found here.
Ziff Davis Media, publisher of a host of tech pubs and sites, has filed for bankruptcy protection, citing a “dramatic” decline in advertising since 2000. If you represent tech clients, don’t worry. You can still pitch Red Herring Business 2.0 Upside Fast Company.
Schenkein’s Elaine Ellis offers her Top 10 New Media Moments in the 2008 Election.
JohnstonWells announced it has named Rodney D. Bell senior counselor and director of business development. Bell’s previous experience includes First Data Corp.
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.
The Denver Nuggets continue to slip farther down in the standings, and they would not make the playoffs if the season ended today. Part of the problem may be that coach George Karl is wasting his best motivational speeches about hustle and aggressiveness on his lawyer rather than his players.
When former Denver Post columnist Jim Spencer left the paper last summer, he announced he was taking a foray into the world of online journalism by joining the Web site Colorado Confidential. That experiment has ended. Spencer has crossed over to the dark side, accepting a position as communications director for the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold is dealing with an issue no public relations person wants to handle: PETA. Although Chipotle is recognized as a leader in the fight against the traditional farming practices of micro-pens, antibiotics and hormones, PETA has an issue with how the restaurant’s chickens are killed “processed.”
The continued death spiral for traditional daily newspapers such as the Post and News has been a gold mine for the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the school recently has snagged three Pulitzer prize winners.
Everybody wins! You’d think it would be hard not to win a lot when you are one of only three entrants and there are literally dozens of categories of awards, but that hasn’t stopped the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News from going into overdrive to congratulate themselves. Westword has the details here and here.
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.
PR Week looks at the roles the host cities will play for the Democratic and Republican national conventions, and gives a shout out to Linhart and Schenkein for their roles in Denver’s preparations.
Among those hiring this week: Turner, Schenkein, GBSM, Heedum, JP Morgan Chase, Frontier Airlines, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Democratic National Convention Committee, Colorado Media Matters, AIMCO and Colorado Confidential.
Joanne Ostrow reports that Fox31 has re-signed news anchor Ron Zappolo to a new contract that will likely mean he retires in Denver.