Here are some of the things happening in the Public Relations news world:
JCOPE’s Lobbying Definition causing problems
JCOPE’s recent legislation regarding registering of “lobbying” firms remains a problem. Five PR firms filed suit in federal court to block JCOPE from enforcing the legislation a short time after its passage. The five firms feel JCOPE will try to enforce part of the advisory opinion to treat those paid to discuss legislation with editorial writers as lobbyists.
JCOPE’s opinion tries to identify all activities, including grassroots ones they consider as lobbying efforts, including scheduling meetings between legislators and others with an opinion, are seeking to influence editorial efforts and government decisions or actions. Apparently the commission decided if someone receives more than $5K per year in these pursuits that makes them a lobbyist, requiring them to register and include information about who they represent and what they are pushing on behalf of a client.
Stu Loeser & Co., Anat Gerstein, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, Risa Heller Communications, and Mercury PR are among the firms who have been fighting this going back to July 2015. And JCOPE made some concessions from the much broader interpretation they started with, but not enough according to the litigants. The teams filed their suit in the Southern District of New York and are represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP as well as the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia not-for-profit organization that often fights regulation of money in politics. The group was also instrumental in the federal case leading to the creation of “Super PACs.”
Center for Competitive Politics lawyer Allen Dickerson said, “It’s really a pretty breathtaking expansion in terms of indirect political activity, and also, this effort to dragoon the press as part of the lobbying apparatus I think it is very dangerous.”
The suit claims “PR and media consultants often speak with editors and reporters anonymously, or on background, for any number of reasons. Those private conversations are vital to raise and share important information and views with the press. Yet under the Opinion, those conversations will no longer be private, and, therefore, will no longer occur.”
JCOPE argues that requiring disclosure of general information doesn’t affect First Amendment Rights. “What we’re doing is when a lobbyist gets hired, and that lobbyist, as part of their strategy, decides ‘we’re going to pursue favorable editorials on our issue’ … the public has a right to know, just as the lobbyist registers and discloses their activity with respect to members of the government, if you’re being paid to lobby the public has a right to know that,” said chair Daniel Horwitz.
Weber Shandwick honored by UAE as a top employer for three years running
2016 rankings show Weber Shandwick as the 7th “Greatest Place to Work in the UAE.” The announcement was made on March 8th at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai at an awards ceremony ranking the nation’s best employers based on an audit of management practices and the confidential feedback of employees.
Weber Shandwick’s ongoing effort to foster professionalism and innovation means they have been on the list for three years in a row. Employees of the firm work together as creative, talented, and collaborating team members with opportunities for training and learning, including one-on-one coaching and training sessions. Employees are encouraged to participate in pro-bono work, receive internal awards, and participate in competitive contests within the firm.
Ziad Hasbani, CEO of Weber Shandwick MENA, said, “Our industry is centered on people, and we are fortunate to retain some of the market’s most talented and creative individuals. We greatly value our team and appreciate the efforts they have invested in delivering top quality work for our clients, but also in growing our agency. We are always looking for opportunities to promote growth and knowledge transfer amongst our team and industry peers and leaders, and will continue to operate according to this strategy moving forward.”
There were 20 firms on the list, and this is the sixth year since the awards program began.
Focused Communications in Japan Acquired by Allison+Partners
Allison+Partners, a PR firm under the umbrella of MDC Partners recently dove deeper into the Japanese market when they added the Japanese PR agency, Focused Communications, becoming the latest international addition to MDC’s ranks. Allison and Focused have a long-standing relationship of collaboration on work for clients.
Allison acquired “all of the business operations” of Focused including 15 employees and all the current clients to be assimilated with Allison+Partners Japan. The local office will continue to be led by the two co-founders of Focused, Chairman Takashi Miura and CEO/President Akemi Ichise. Allison now has Asia-Pacific offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, and Bangkok.
Focused was founded in 2000 and Ichise remarked the move brings the firm global resources, and said “We’d also like to help Japanese clients to go into the global market. For Focused, that was difficult without a global team to support global clients outside Japan.”
Borghese signs 5WPR
Borghese claims a heritage going back to the 14th century – with healing waters in Tuscany. The company was formed in 1958 by Princess Marcella Borghese when she wanted to use some of the natural elements around their ancestral home to provide beauty products to women, including mud facials from very early days. She also worked with Revlon to introduce many new colors for lipstick and nail polish. Marcella passed the legacy to other family members, and the company has been part of Revlon and Halston branding in the past.
They’ve signed 5WPR to handle their public relations and work on their beauty products including the introduction of a new generation of masks as part of the Fango Essenziali collection. 5WPR will oversee the execution of a complete PR campaign bringing brand awareness and using print, broadcast, digital, and various other business outlets to target consumers.