PR News From Weber Shandwick, Edelman, MWWPR, and More

Egyptian Intelligence – Mukhabarat – Hired Weber Shandwick and Cassidy & Associates

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Paperwork filed with the Department of Justice late in January showed that the General Intelligence Service in Egypt has put both Weber Shandwick and Cassidy & Associates on their PR payroll. The duties include assisting Egypt in building a strategic partnership with the US by emphasizing their economic development, civil society, and their “leading role in managing regional risks.” The PR companies’ combined pay is about $1.8 million.

It’s certainly worth Egypt’s efforts since the US sends their country about $1.3 billion annually in military assistance. But it’s not just the US with which Egypt wants improved relations. European countries are also high on their list. But the renewed efforts may be as much about the new US administration and its softening approach to governments such as Egypt with authoritarian agendas.

Edelman Expanding to Include Advertising

Edelman recently added the Swedish advertising agency, Deportivo, to their UK team. It’s called Edelman Deportivo and will continue in Sweden, but also function out of the UK working with Edelman UK’s PR people. Their 70 member staff will be under the direction of Mattias Ronge who was Deportivo’s CEO and who now becomes the Chairman of the new entity.

MWWPR Becomes AOR for Primesight

Out-of-home media owner, Primesight, just appointed MWWPR to handle their LinkUK summer launch. Primesight, BT, and Intersection have collaborated to offer LinkUK, a free 1GB WiFi service and calling service to many cities in the UK. The process will bring in modern, multifunctional units to replace traditional phone boxes. Elle Crossman, account director at MWWPR, will be in charge of the account and will report to Primesight’s marketing leader Mark Henson. MWWPR will work with Primesight in getting information to the media and advertising industry.

Weber Shandwick Takes Charge of Consolidated Marcomms for Mattel India

Mattel India, located in Mumbai, is looking at a new way to do marketing communications in India and have brought in Weber Shandwick to help with the transition and beyond for creative, corporate reputation, and digital marketing. The work was previously split between Ogilvy, Flarepath, Perfect Relations, and Saatchi & Saatchi. The new contract covers all Mattel brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price.

Saudi Arabian Agents Wining & Dining US Veterans to Stop Law Allowing Suits Against the Kingdom

Veterans report that the Saudi government is running a scam where they solicit the veterans who served post 9/11 to receive all-expenses-paid trips to DC that include lodging at the new Trump hotel located near the White House. It’s all meant to pressure Congress to amend the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that was recently passed. Qorvis MSLGROUP has allegedly organized the trips funded by the Saudis using 75 paid foreign agents in the US.

Veterans who have been approached reported they’ve been openly lied to and misled with denials that there is no “Saudi involvement” in the trip sponsorship. But the PR firm is a registered foreign agent for this purpose according to Justice Department filings. Part of the pitch to veterans is that JASTA exposes them and other US military personnel to “retaliatory lawsuits” in other countries. International law experts say that JASTA is about the immunity of foreign states, posing little or no risk to individuals.

Robyn De Villiers, Burson-Marsteller Africa CEO, to Be Keynote Speaker at Maggie Nally Lecture

The annual Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is to be held in the House of Commons (UK) and will feature Robyn De Villiers as the keynote speaker. Her talk is titled “Out of Africa: an Insider’s Perspective.” She will speak about her experience in Africa’s communications industry and the changes and development of PR across Africa. Her comments are meant to help professionals engage with the many cultures and markets on that continent. De Villiers brings 25 years of experience working PR and corporate communications across continental Africa and South Africa. With Burson-Marsteller Africa, they provide communication assistance to over 50 African markets.

Burson-Marsteller and H+K Strategies Combine Efforts in Denmark

Burson-Marsteller (BM) and H+K Strategies (HK), are merging in Denmark to form a new agency they are calling HKBM. Leading the new agency is Nikolaj Buchardt, BM CEO, and Mikkel Andersen will be the COO as the former director of HK. Plans are to keep all the existing staff from both agencies moving forward. This move seems to fit with Omnicom’s plans to merge three global PR brands in four European markets. Omnicom is the owner of both parent PR brands.

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