AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh has defended the company -- which received $180 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds -- over criticism of its hiring of four PR firms. Michael Weisskopf reports that Sard Verbinnen & Co.
Cigarette makers are taking advantage of the upcoming 62-cent increase in the U.S. federal excise tax on cigarettes to raise prices.
Wal-Mart Stores plans to hire a few outside public relations firms to develop "fresh, emotional PR programming" promoting its grocery, health, clothing, home, hardware, auto and entertainment products, along with Wal-Mart's events, financial services and website. Edelman, which has been Wal-Mart's main PR firm for three years, is among the five or six finalists for the major account.