Sprocket Shuts Down Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

In Memoriam

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.

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Julin, Smith Shut Down MGA Communications

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.

The Economist: Dan Edelman was no ‘Mad Man’

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.

Another Sad Reality of Fewer Column Inches

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.

Dear Editor:

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.

Donald Shook

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.

RIP LeGrand Hart

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)

In Memoriam

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.

RIP, Reggie McDaniel

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.

In Memoriam

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.

In Memoriam

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.

James B. Meadow Memorial Scheduled

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

In Memoriam

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.

In love,

Julie and the Meadow family

In Memoriam

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.”