PR Tactics, a publication of the Public Relations Society of America, reports corporate budgets for public relations average $2.7 million in 2002, an increase from $2.25 in 2001. The Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research Client Survey found that telecommunications firms outspend other sectors, averaging $8.04 million for PR budgets. Chemicals and plastics average $5.55 million; retailing, $3.96 million; energy, $3.68 million; and sports and entertainment, $3.52 million. Some of the PR spending goes to promoting new products. PR Tactics reports "a recent survey of 600 U.S.
Are Berman & Co., flacks for the tobacco, restaurant and booze industries who specialize in attacking groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Greenpeace, preparing to launch a new front group called "Tarnish the Halo?" Or are they just looking for new recruits for their on-going smear campaigns? We wonder because they've posted a job advertisement seeking a researcher. "The food police want us arrested," the ad states. "The animal-rights movement wants us thrown to the lions.
The Panama Canal Authority has a $1 million contract with Edelman PR Worldwide for "corporate communications" work, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. Edelman has "conducted a communications audit, provided media training, monitored the worldwide media and drafted materials for the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development for the PCA." The 88-year-old canal is in need of modernization, which could cost up to $8 billion. "U.S. officials also fear the Canal could be a terror target, a strike that would deal a severe blow to global commerce," O'Dwyer's writes.
Speakers at a recent symposium of the Public Relations Society of America said that "U.S. support for Israelis over Palestinians, President Bush's 'crusade' against the Taliban and the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia contribute to the rising anti-American sentiment in the Middle East," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. "According to Denise Gray-Felder, VP of communications for the Rockefeller Foundation, 'Americans persist in operating like a nation of ignorants.' She has noticed in her international travels that foreigners are far better educated on world affairs than U.S.
For insight into ways to promote better US-Arab relations, the Saudi Arabia-based Arab News interviewed Jim Cox of the Hill & Knowlton PR firm (which worked a decade ago to promote war in the Persian Gulf). "Saudi Arabia has a cadre of friends," says Cox, "who know, respect and value it in terms of business relationships and the culture of the Kingdom. The trouble is that cadre is very small.
The Canadian firm National PR inadvertently sent an email instructing Conservative members of the Ontario Parliament how to "undermine the Kyoto Protocol" to Liberal members who support the accord. The National Post reported the misdirected email caused "embarrassment for a government that has yet to take a clear stand on the international plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." National PR, which is partly owned by PR giant Burson-Marsteller, helped organize the anti-Kyoto front group the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions.
What do former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former CIA director James Woolsey, White House advisor Richard Perle, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, American Enterprise Institute's Michael Ledeen, and dissident Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr. Khidir Hamza have in common? For one thing, they all have the PR expertise of Eleana Benador behind them.
Seeking to "create a favorable image for the country," Pakistan will pay $600,000 for a year of media relations work, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. The recently formed Sterling International Consulting Corporation, based in Lansing, Michigan, will "root out negative stories" and provide journalists with "background, response and clarification." The PR firm is to find Pakistani-Americans willing to speak out on behalf of Pakistan. "Those 'message surrogates' will be given talking points and media training by SICC.
"If you are going to fairly represent the [military] institution to the media, you must know how the boss views various issues," PR Tactics reports Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven Plummer saying. "You have to understand his position vis-a-vis the greater environment in which he works." According to Tactics, loyalty, "strategic communications" experience, "deep insight into the media environment," and "knowledge of all the 'skeleton-in-the-closet' issues" are other key ingredients needed to make a good public affairs officer.
"Qorvis Communications is helping Saudi Arabia handle fallout from charges that American children born of mixed U.S./Saudi parents are being kidnapped to the Kingdom," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. Congressman Dan Burton, who recently held hearings on the issue, says there are "hundreds of such cases," and that the U.S. State Department hasn't done anything to pressure Saudi Arabia to return the American children held there against their will. U.S.