PR News From Bell Pottinger, Finn, Mercury Public Affairs & Weber Shandwick

Bell Pottinger Helped Guptas with ‘White Monopoly Capital’ PR

Bell Pottinger PR

Zuma, the Guptas, and Bell Pottinger are reportedly in the middle of an orchestrated PR stunt to draw attention from state capture. Purportedly, senior staff member of the PR firm left the company when objections were raised about accepting the Gupta contract. After that, an aggressive course of action was determined to allege ‘white monopoly capital’ conspiracies through fake bloggers, media outlets, and social media accounts. All in an effort to divert attention from the Nhlanhla nene disaster associated with the Guptas and Zuma.

The Guptas contracted with Bell Pottinger at the rate of £100,000 per month to “divert public outcry towards the Gupta family and refocus attention upon other examples of state interference and capture, notably by ‘white monopoly capital,” said Johann Rupert. “With a heavy focus upon use of social media, a series of fake bloggers, commentators, and Twitter users have been launched in an effort to manipulate public opinion.”

Grace Blue Signs AOR with Finn

Finn Partners just picked up Grace Blue as a new client. Grace Blue has offices in London, Singapore, and New York. They assist agencies, media owners, and brands to get the right leadership talent in the right positions for their organizations. They also help clients with mergers and acquisitions. Some of their clients include LEGO, Dyson, BBC, Newsweek, Bacardi, and PepsiCo.

Mercury Hires Omar Khan as Senior Political Strategist

Mercury, part of the Omnicom PR Group and global public affairs bipartisan strategy firm, just reported they hired Omar Khan to work out of their New York office as SVP and senior political strategist. Khan left a post as Assistant Trade Rep for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement for President Obama as part of the executive office. He also worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency in public engagement and Director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations for the recovery task force after Hurricane Sandy.

WE Communications Looking to Pick Up Avian Media in India

WE Communications already added Watatawa (Singapore) and Red Bridge Communications (China) recently, but they haven’t finished Asian acquisitions yet. They are in meetings with Avian Media in India now too. Avian is large enough to be of great interest to WE. The discussions were confirmed by Nitin Mantri, Avian Media’s CEO, who also said WE was not the only one wanting to make the deal. Omnicom PR Group also seems to be interested.

Weber Shandwick Releases Results of Top CEOs and Social Engagement Study

Weber Shandwick (WS) recently released study shows that top CEOs are visible online through social media and company websites – 92% of top CEOs from public firms, 76% from private firms, and 86% from tech (Silicon Valley) firms. The full study – Socializing Your CEO IV: The Engagement Factor can be read  here.

Points discussed include CEOs Are Visible, But Not Consistently Engaging, the Company Website Is Home Base for Public and Private CEO Visibility, Silicon Valley CEOs Lead the Way in Social Network Presence, and Corporate Video Is an Important Component of CEO Sociability. It also suggested eight tips for social engagement by CEOs. These include establishing online presence, creating a company careers page, using other career sites such as Glassdoor, creating a CEO communications’ space, creating and using video, writing and publishing CEO’s original content, being visible and engaging on social networks, using an authentic voice, and being aware of risks.

Weber Shandwick Adds Gary Sheffer as Sr. Corporate Strategist

Gary Sheffer, General Electric’s former chief communications officer, has joined WS as a senior corporate strategist in their New York office. He’ll work with their leadership team and provide corporate, executive reputation and engagement, governance, and cultural issue counsel for clients. Sheffer worked at GE for sixteen years and served as chief communications officer for six of them, he was also VP for communications and public affairs for thirteen years – overlapping duties for some of the time. In 2015, he received the SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

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