Sahara Communications, a public relations firm hired to promote historically black Morgan State University, is under fire for telling students not to show up for a TV commercial with dreadlocks, head wraps, corn rows or braids.
Judy Blatman, who helped put cocktail hour on TV for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (which represents some of the nation's largest hard-liquor companies), has been hired to represent the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which represents companies that sell diet pills and allegedly "natural" food supplements -- including ephedra, which has been linked to
PR trade publication O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports: "Omnicom has established SafirRosetti to spearhead its foray into the 'business intelligence' and 'executive and personal protection' arenas. Former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir and ex-Kroll Assocs. and IBM Security Director Joe Rosetti head the operation that Omnicom CEO John Wren calls a 'natural extension' of the communications combine's business."
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Peter Himler, who handles media relations for PR giant Burson-Marsteller, congratulated NY-based PR practitioners for acting "responsibly and sensitively in the face of these unprecedented and extraordinary events." O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes, "Himler said journalists turned to PR pros to get answers to questions, such as: Where do victims and their families go to seek assistance? Will insurance companies cover one's losses? How does one find out if his or her flight was canceled? Where can one seek professional grief counseling? What do I tell my kids?
According to the PR trade press, PR giant Burson-Marsteller helped create the hype surrounding the unveiling of the Segway Human Transporter on December 3. B-M scored big media hits for the scooter-like vehicle nicknamed "Ginger" and its inventor, Dean Kamen. The 65-pound motorized vehicle appeared in the New York Times, and Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson each gave "Ginger" a spin. Kamen, who has already made millions on his medical device inventions, raised about $90 million for the start-up of Segway.
"A new era of PR knowledge has opened with the creation of a searchable database of everything on the O'Dwyer website starting Jan. 1, 2001," proclaimed leading PR trade publisher Jack O'Dwyer. "The search engine will find any name or group of words in a few moments from among the hundreds of thousands of words placed on the website since Jan. 1, 2001." PR practioners and activist alike will be able to take advantage of the on-line resource.
Energy trading corporation Enron has hired "two of the nation's most respected strategic communications firms--Kekst & Company and The Brunswick Group" according to the Holmes Report. The firms have been working with Enron to assist with crisis communications as the company begins bankruptcy proceedings. Holmes reports Kekst has handled numerous projects requiring crisis management for Enron over the years, starting with a crisis involving the company's Puerto Rican water operations. This time Kekst was called in when Enron's financial troubles became public.
The PR distribution firm PR Newswire is happy to report on its member's only Media Insider website that "mainstream media organizations are making more frequent use of PR-generated photos. ... Some 4,000 photos in PR Newswire's archive are now downloaded every month by media organizations. ... (C)ost-cutting news outlets are looking for ways to stretch their photo budgets, and will rely on free corporate photography whenever they can."
According to O'Dwyer's PR, James Carville, former political advisor to Bill Clinton, and his partner Stanley Greenberg will be working to "spruce-up" the image of Israel in the U.S. Carville and Greenberg met with Israel foreign ministry officials, but are to be paid by a group of American Jews who believe Israel's PR "needs improvement," according to The Jerusalem Post. O'Dwyer's says it is unclear whether the Israeli government will contribute to the PR effort. Carville and Greenberg have worked for former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.