Public Relations News Recap

Here’s a recap of PR news from the last week of the year from agencies like North 6th, MWW, 5WPR, and Weber Shandwick and more…

Public Relations News Recap

1. Six Most Influential 2013 Brand Crisis Headlines revealed by North 6th Agency

North 6th Agency (N6A), an award-winning brand communications agency based in New York City and San Francisco announced before Christmas the results for its first annual ‘6 on 6’ program, Brand Crisis category.

The agency created the ‘6 on 6’ program to help determine the most influential stories that defined 2013 in areas like: technology, B2B, energy, consumer goods, finance and publishing.

The results for the 2013 Brand Crisis category are:

  1. JCPenney: constant turnover on senior management team, low stock prices and revenues keep brand on defensive for most of 2013.
  2. Toyota: recall of 885,000 Camry, Avalon, and Venza vehicles worldwide to fix a problem in the air conditioning condensers keep brand in headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2013.
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch: CEO says company only markets to “cool, good looking people”.
  4. BlackBerry: layoffs, high quarterly revenue losses, sale of company cause concern among investors and consumers.
  5. Carnival Cruise Lines: engine room fire in Carnival Triumph, generator failure in Carnival Dream, and mechanical problems in Carnival Legend plague brand throughout 2013.
  6. Burger King: pretends to change their name to Fries King, stirring controversy and confusion among consumers.

“2013 was a fascinating year when it came to brand crises, with many blue chip companies making headlines for all the wrong reasons,” said Matt Rizzetta, President and CEO of N6A. “It will be interesting to see how these brands react from a communications standpoint in 2014 in order to regain the confidence from their customers and to restore the same levels of brand equity that they have spent so many years working tirelessly to build” – he added.

2. MWW’s CEO Michael W. Kempner Awarded Agency Leader Of The Year by PR News

PR News awarded MWW, one of the top five independent public relations firms in US, with three awards at its annual gala – 2013 PR People Awards, held in early December at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Agency CEO, Michael W. Kempner was named the Agency Leader of the Year.

“The past year has been one of record growth for our firm and this is a direct result of the great team that we have in place. I am so proud of Shannon and Tim, two great leaders within our organization who come to work every day and give their all to help our clients matter more,” said Michael W. Kempner.

PR News highlighted that “Michael Kempner is one of the rare PR CEOs who has bought back his company from an international conglomerate and then shepherded it to even greater success.”

Honored with more than 50 awards in 2013, MWW has also received from PR News “Digital and Social Media Agency” and “Top Places to Work in PR” awards.

3. 5WPR Creates 5W-Wired – an Ad-tech Focused Practice
5W Public Relations announced early December the creation of an AdTech group named 5W-Wired, to serve and support companies focused on advertising technology and the digital advertising area.

“5W’s success in the ad tech space dates back many years, really since our origin – this announcement simply formalizes a stand-alone ad-tech practice area within the agency,” declared Ronn Torossian, CEO and President of 5WPR. “Our ability to understand the most marketable aspects of a technology, and strategically secure media coverage for a wide variety of companies has allowed us to achieve spectacular results for our clients. We look forward to continuing to expand our success in the ad-tech arena.”

5WPR is one of the largest independent PR firms in the US and for the last ten years has been recognized for its results-driven campaigns serving tech clients such as: Adgent, Rokkan, Icreon Tech, XL Marketing, Phoenix Marketing International and many more.
4. Incivility and rude behavior – a real threat to consumer spending – Weber Shandwick/Powell Tate Research finds.

Weber Shandwick, the global public relations firm and public affairs firm Powell Tate partnered with KRC Research to conduct the forth Civility in America: A Nationwide Survey.

This year´s study revealed that civility in America continues to decay; rude discourse and behavior are becoming the “new normal”.

Two thirds of Americans (63%) believe that America has a major civility problem and 7 in 10 (71%) believe that civility is worse compared to a few years ago.

From a business point of view, incivility between a company and its customers can lead to a drop in sales and worst to losing the reputation.

Six in 10 Americans have either decided not to buy from a company again or advised others not to buy a company’s products or services – the research shows.

“Incivility can be the enemy of a customer-centric culture,” said Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick. “We know that the key to a successful customer relationship is providing quality products and good service at a good value. But companies are also obligated to engage their customers with respect and understanding. The tone for meaningful and civil interaction is set at the leadership level and shared by customer-facing employees. Civil discourse starts internally and extends externally.”

The full Civility in America: The Corporate Reputation Edition report can be found here.

5. 5WPR – Among Top Public Relations Agencies

5WPR, one of the largest independent PR firms in the US, led by Ronn Torossian, was highly ranked by, an online organizer of independent reviews and ratings for national PR firms in their December reviews.

The agency received was awarded: #4 Best Lifestyle PR Firm, #2 Best Crisis Communications PR Agency, and #3 Best Celebrity PR Agency.

6. Weber Shandwick reinforces the Digital Practice with a Series of New Hires
Weber Shandwick reinforces its digital practice Mediaco to meet growing client demand with a series of new hires. Mediaco is the firm’s content offer that helps companies fully adopt a brand publishing model.

“Companies now operate in an environment where attention can no longer simply be bought. A new bar for quality storytelling, both in creativity of approach and delivery, is required to break through,” said Jason Wellcome, general manager of Mediaco. “To develop a content operation that sustains presence requires a new mix of specialized resources, exemplified in part by the latest additions to our group” – he added.

The new series of hires includes editorial, production and platform experts with deep experience creating content and online engagement; technology experts versed in driving innovation and content experiences, specialists with critical expertise for clients navigating complex and regulated industries like healthcare. The new additions to the Mediaco team can be found here.

7. Hollywood PR Wins Two Industry Awards
Hollywood Public Relations, a boutique agency, serving consumer packaged goods and services clients took home this year two Ragan´s 2013 PR Daily Media Relations Awards:

–          “Best Executive Visibility” award – for positioning David Nilssen, Co-Founder and CEO of Guidant Financial, as a thought leader in business financing.

–          “Best Use of a Celebrity or Personality” award – for enlisting TV personality Giuliana Rancic to help client Born Free spread the word about the company’s recently established Colic Awareness Month and its first-to-market BPA-free baby bottle.

“It’s our goal to create original campaigns that allow the individual personalities of our amazing clients to shine through,” said Darlene Hollywood, principal of Hollywood Public Relations. “To have the opportunity to showcase and deliver our clients’ brand initiatives and be recognized by Ragan for the effort and execution is quite an honor.”

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