Denver PR agency Sprocket is closing effective this month as the economic damage to agencies across the country continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aubrey Gordon founded the primarily virtual firm 13 years ago, and its clients included a mix of those in the consumer & lifestyle products, real estate, restaurants & hospitality, tech, healthcare and B2B industries.
Update: Aubrey shared that the COVID-19 pandemic was coincidental to her closing Sprocket. She made the decision to shutter the agency because she wanted to get back to marketing strategy rather than running a business, and that she has accepted a position as VP of Marketing at 8z Real Estate.
The public relations world has lost two giants over the past two weeks: Al Golin and Pam Edstrom.
Golin got his early start with client McDonald’s, and over the course of 60 years built his eponymous agency, Golin. Edstrom was one of Microsoft’s earliest PR executives, and she later co-founded the firm Waggener Edstrom.
Jeff Julin, president of MGA Communications, announced today that he and Cricket Smith, MGA’s executive vice president, have closed the firm.
“MGA had a terrific run as a nationally recognized, award-winning communications firm. Its programs for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, led by MGA Chairman Mike Gaughan, were of particular note in what they achieved in community engagement and helping bring the site partners and community together on the clean-up solution,” Julin said.
He added, “We were also blessed with numerous incredibly talented people through the years that help the firm achieve what we did for our many great clients.”
Julin is forming a consultancy that will focus on development, analysis and assessment of communication and engagement programs.
Longtime Colorado political consultant Katy Atkinson died today following a fight with brain cancer. She was 60.
MGA Communications co-founder and Chairman Mike Gaughan passed away Tuesday. You can count on two hands the number of PR legends we have had in this town. Mike was one of them.
Update: Caitlin Hendee at the Denver Business Journal has a profile of Mike and his career.
Suzanne Phipps, who founded two public relations firms – Results Unlimited and Phipps & Associates – in Denver in the 1950s and 1970s, passed away last month. She was 77.
The Economist reflects on the role Dan Edelman played in the rise of public relations in what was an advertising world:
Mr Edelman, who died on January 15th, aged 92, was a pioneer, introducing innovations that reflected his bigger vision of PR as a more effective way to market a company’s reputation and brands than its fancier (and costlier) big brother, advertising. … Nowadays, although public relations is hardly without its critics, Mr Edelman’s view of the merits of PR relative to advertising is much more widely shared, though never as enthusiastically as four decades ago, when Charlie Lubin, the founder of Sara Lee, said that thanks to Mr Edelman, his PR budget was worth 1,000 times more than his advertising budget. Those were the days.
Don Kirchoffner died on Thursday following a three-year battle with cancer. He was 68.
James W. Hall, co-founder of the advertising, public relations and digital agency Vladimir Jones, has died at the age of 70. Hall founded the agency, originally named PRACO, with his wife Nechie in 1970. The firm is now run by the couple’s daughter, Meredith Vaughan, and employs 84 in Denver and Colorado Springs.
Longtime Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen died Sunday, according to the Post’s Chuck Murphy. I’ll update this post when more information is available.
Update: Coverage of Quillen’s death has appeared in Westword, the Denver Post, 9News and 7News.
Update II: Metzger’s Marie Rotter, who knew Ed personally from her high-school friendship with his daughter Columbine, offers a tribute to the late writer.
Denver restaurateur and philanthropist Noel Cunningham passed away unexpectedly yesterday. Noel was the driving force behind restaurants Strings, 240 Union and Ciao Baby, but he was also known for his prolific humanitarian efforts. I got to know Noel through my involvement in AfricAid, and today is an incredibly sad day for Denver. Lori Midson at Westword has a fitting tribute to Noel.
One of the sad realities of newspapers continually cutting back the column inches they publish every day is the loss of some of the traditional services they provided, including obituaries. Many of you may know Don Shook, who prior to moving to Las Vegas spent 27 years in Denver with Channel 4, Coors and the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office. His wife, Maggie, passed away last month and Don was shocked to find that the Post wanted $1,600 to publish her obituary. Don fired off the letter below to the Post, but has yet to see it published or receive a response.
My wife of 37 years just got her dying wish, thanks to The Denver Post. Maggie passed away last week in our Las Vegas home after many years of pain and suffering. She made it absolutely clear that she wanted NO obituary notices; however, after 25 years of living in Golden, I was willing to risk her wrath on “the other shore” to share news of her passing with our considerable number of friends along the Front Range. She will indeed get her wish regarding your newspaper.
I built a modest obituary into the paper’s template, along with a recent photo that captures her nicely. To run it three days would be just under $1,600. Does The Denver Post expect me to singlehandedly save the organization from financial doom? With the recent news of yet morestaff reductions being sought, is the newspaper hoping to stave off closure of its daily publication by capitalizing on people at such a moment of profound grief?
Given your apparent lack of feeling for the community you purport to serve, perhaps the time may come when we all read of the Post’s own obituary. For the sake of your many fine employees, I hope not.
There will be a memorial for Maggie next summer in Golden. If you are interested in reconnecting with Don, you can reach him through his PR firm in Las Vegas.
Denver public relations agency LeGrand Hart appears to have shut its doors for good. The news is surprising since the firm ranked second in revenue in the Denver Business Journal’s 2007-2008 Book of Lists ($2.70 million in revenue). But it was second only to Schenkein ($2.72 million in revenue), so maybe we should expect the unexpected.
For old time’s sake, here is the ranking of agencies that appeared in 2007-2008, the last time the DBJ ranked public relations firms:
1. Schenkein ($2.72 million)
2. LeGrand Hart ($2.70 million)
3. JohnstonWells ($2.65 million)
4. PRACO/Vladimir Jones ($2.51 million)
5. MGA ($2.29 million)
6. Pure Brand ($2.13 million)
7. GroundFloor Media ($2.10 million)
8. Linhart ($2.09 million)
9. CTA Integrated ($1.86 million)
10. Turner PR ($1.65 million)
11. CLS ($1.56 million)
12. 104 West ($1.51 million)
13. Webb PR ($1.35 million)
14. Bawmann Group ($1.28 million)
15. Metzger ($1.10 million)
16. VisiTech ($1.10 million)
17. LawsComm ($1.07 million)
18. InterMountain ($1.05 million)
19. Catapult ($0.92 million)
20. Corporate Advocates ($0.83 million)
21. Volume PR ($0.83 million)
22. SJI Ltd. ($0.75 million)
23. October Strategies ($0.74 million)
24. Aiello PR ($0.70 million)
25. Capitol Solutions ($0.69 million)
Pulitzer Prize winner and former Denver Post editor Gil Spencer passed away Friday. He was 85.
Sad news – Chris Power Bain lost her battle with cancer yesterday. She was 57.
UPDATE: There will be a celebration of Chris’ life at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 27, on the plaza of the upper level of Red Rocks. Everyone is welcome.
UPDATE II: The Denver Post carried Chris’ obituary on Wednesday.
They say suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and in that spirit let us remember that it was two years ago today that Scripps pulled the plug on the Rocky Mountain News. In that moment, 150 years of scrappy journalism was abandoned, hundreds of talented journalists and production staff suddenly were without jobs and Denver was left with one less important community voice.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how Scripps’ decision played out in the newsroom.
For those of you who are Googling the recently departed Denver movie critic Reggie McDaniel and coming across this post, let me just say first that is was written two years ago. I am not, in fact, “dancing on his grave.” So quit emailing me. And, second, McDaniel was a critic, and he understood that criticism is part of being a public performer/personality.
Sad, sad news – longtime Denver public relations practitioner Don Cannalte lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and passed away Monday. Don was a Denver public relations institution, having served literally decades with United Airlines and the University of Colorado, as well as having founded Colorado Notebook.
He was elected to PRSA’s College of Fellows in 1994, served as president of PRSA Colorado and was awarded PRSA Colorado’s Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Don also was the husband of JohnstonWell’s Gwin Johnston and the stepfather of GG Johnston. Services will be this Friday, June 4, at 3 p.m. at the Eisenhower Chapel at Lowry.
Update: The Denver Post published Don’s obituary.
A Christian burial mass for Joe Fuentes will be held on Monday, March 15, at 2 p.m. at Mount Olivet Chapel. If you are so inclined, donations can be made in Joe’s name to Samaritan House (2301 Lawrence Street, Denver, CO 80205).
(Update: Here is a link to Joe’s obituary in the Denver Post)
Today is a sad, sad day for Denver’s media and public relations communities. Joe Fuentes lost his battle with cancer last night.
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Here’s to all the great journalists who worked for the newspaper over the past century, and especially to those who were with it at the end. You deserved better.
“America’s oldest journal covering the newspaper industry” realizes the same fate of so many newspapers it covered.
Ad Age compiles the list.
(Hat tip to Jordan Blakesley).
A sad day for the dozens of GM fans around the world: They must bid farewell to the iconic GM logo. Created in the early 1960s, the logo once represented global brand strength. Now, it is just another brand anchor around the necks of Chevrolet and Cadillac, among others. GM announced it will gradually phase the logo out starting in 2010.
The world of journalism has lost two giants in two days: political reporter Robert Novak yesterday and 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt today.
Billy Mays, the television pitchman who helped launch Denver-based Orange Glo into a national brand, is dead. He was 50.
Family and friends of former Rocky Mountain News reporter James B. Meadow have scheduled a memorial to “tell stories, laugh and cry and rejoice in his life well lived.” The details are:
A Celebration of James’ Life
Saturday, March 14, at 11 a.m.
Colfax Events Center
1477 Columbine Street
Denver, CO 80206
Additionally, friends have established the James B. Meadow Tribute Fund at 1st Bank of Cherry Creek to help the Meadow family with expenses during this difficult time. All 1st Bank locations are able to accept your donations if you stop by or you may mail a check to:
1st Bank of Cherry Creek
P.O. Box 461050
Denver, CO 80246
Sadly, former Rocky Mountain News reporter James B. Meadow passed away this evening. His family issued the following statement:
Dear family and friends:
It is with great sadness that we inform you of James’ passing earlier this evening. James’ condition deteriorated rapidly this afternoon and a follow-up CT scan revealed there was no brain activity.
We are humbled by your thoughts and prayers these past few days. Your outpouring of love and kindness has kept us strong during this difficult time.
We will be sending along more information as arrangements are made.
Julie and the Meadow family
Many of us who worked in Denver a decade ago remember the fight former Denver Post reporter Kerri Smith waged against obesity and cancer. Sadly, Kerri lost that struggle this weekend. She was 48. Mike McPhee at the Post has the details.
Longtime KCNC/Channel 4 reporter and anchor Bob Palmer passed away last night. He was 77.
Rockmount Ranch Wear CEO “Papa Jack” Weil passed away yesterday at the age of 107. Weil was believed to be the oldest working CEO, and was featured in a national ad campaign for Denver last year.
Tony Snow, former press secretary to President George W. Bush, has died following his lengthy fight against colon cancer.
The New York Post is reporting that NBC’s Tim Russert has died from a heart attack. MSNBC confirms.
Legendary Hollywood publicist Warren Cowan, co-founder of Rogers & Cowan, has died at the age of 87. He was a throwback to a different era of public relations and represented the likes of Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Steve McQueen. Noted the Los Angeles Times, “You have Cowan to thank (or blame) for helping pioneer such popular publicity tools as celebrity sporting events, top 10 lists (the “most watchable man” or “most hypnotic eyes”), and product placement.”
5280 has the latest on the news that the husband of the late Kacey Fine Furniture CEO Leslie Fishbein has retained a Denver medical malpractice attorney to investigate whether negligence on the part of the doctor that administered a pain shot contributed to her death. The Denver Post also has the story, while the Rocky will have to play catch-up tomorrow.
Our sympathies to Andrew Hudson and the entire Hudson family. Andrew’s mother, Julie, passed away yesterday. Penny Parker at the Rocky has the details.
A spokeswoman at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital has confirmed that Kacey Fine Furniture president Leslie Fishbein died today.
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.
Sad news — Westword co-founder and former Denver Post reporter Sandra Widener and her politically connected husband, John Parr, were killed in a Wyoming traffic accident this weekend.