BOOK OF LISTS 9 10 People with the Book toughest jobs in communications 1 Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, corporate comms VP, Mattel The upside is millions of kids will be spared harmful holi- day gifts. But Mattel’s next challenge is regaining the trust of skeptical, frightened parents. Happy New Year, indeed. 2 Anne Tyrrell, Blackwater spokeswoman Tyrrell has been defending the company against grisly alle- of lists gations with hard-charging PR phrases, like “stringent accountability.” But even a newly softened logo can’t solve the image woes of the Iraq war’s most vilified contractor– though Halliburton was likely glad to pass along the torch. 3 Dana Perino,White House press secretary With so much attention focused on next year’s presidential election, the White House had perhaps its easiest year since the Iraq war started – though not by much. And with Scott McClellan’s upcoming memoir guaran- teed to stir up old contro- versies, Perino can expect 2007 to spend 2008 revisiting some of the administra- tion’s darkest days. 4 Rick Simon, corporate comms VP, Countrywide Countrywide’s dubious lending practices came to a screeching halt this year with the sub-prime market melt- down. But with government intervention on the way and a rebound in the company’s stock price, at least the media coverage has shifted from “whoever thought this would be a good idea?” to fixing the debacle. 5 Dan Whiting, comms director for Larry Craig Poor Whiting had to explain the most confusing political scandal of 2007: lewd allegations, a coy admission of guilt, followed by an abrupt backpedal. Whiting can take some solace knowing that Craig will probably not run for re-elec- tion, though he is tightly hanging on to that Senate seat. 6 Greg Aiello, spokesman, NFL It’s becoming impossible to play Michael Vick’s criminal activity as an isolated incident. This year’s shootings and ongoing arrests point to a larger problem within the league. Maybe giving those retired players health coverage would help the NFL with some much-needed positive press. 7 Leslie Sloane Zelnik, partner at BWR and spokesperson for Lindsay Lohan Zelnik had her work cut out for her in a year where Lohan had more than one stint in rehab, an arrest for driving while intoxicated, and continuing family drama, making her popular fodder for the tabloids. ®In a year filled with recalls 8 Jason Wright, SVP of comms and public affairs, and resignations, Beckham and Merrill Lynch Not even the world’s largest brokerage firm can protect itself against an eco- blockbuster deals, there were nomic calamity – the SEC is investigat- ing the firm for reasons related to its plenty of PR hits and misses. holdings of high-risk mortgage debt. At least Wright can say the company is PRWeek’s editorial team looks at cooperating fully. the best and worst of the bunch 9 Jonathan Supranowitz,VP of PR, New York Knicks It’s his second year on the list, and things have gotten worse for the franchise. From a sexual harassment trial and guilty verdict for GM Isaiah Thomas to numerous losses, Supra- nowitz is challenged with winning back disgruntled fans. 10 Monica Orbe,VP of corporate comms, BearStearns While the Wall Street firm dealt with a monstrous hedge fund collapse, CEO James Cayne was reportedly off play- ing bridge and golf in Nashville, with no access to e-mail or cell phones. We pity the corp comms person who had to explain that absence to reporters. www.prweek.com • December 24, 2007 • PRWeek 10 BOOK OF LISTS 10 PR backlash eventually led to league scrambling to maintain its 6 US Attorneyfirings came under CEO David Neeleman resigning. integrity. Commissioner David The alleged politically charged fire for work- Stern later altered the league’s firings of eight US attorneys put ing with a ven- 2 Mattel toyrecall gambling policy for refs. Attorney General Alberto Gon- dor in India With more than 20 million toys zales and the White House on the who used child recalled, this was probably the 5 Virginia Tech shooting defensive. Before the Senate Judi- laborers. longest-running crisis story of Only six ciary Committee though, Gonza- the year. Regaining the trust of hours les was unable to recall... any- 9 Pet food industryrecall Testing events parents around the world will after a thing – and eventually resigned Recalls involving hundreds of for crisis PR pros be an arduous task. gunman killed 32 from his position. products left shelves in the pet food aisles barren for weeks. In 1 Jet Blue 3 Taco Bell rats people at 7 Blackwater shootings response, the industry created the Known to many as the Valentine’s After getting through an E.coli Virginia When a Blackwater security de- National Pet Food Commission. Day Massacre, the ice storm that breakout in the Northeast, a Tech, the tail gunned down 17 Iraqi civil- crippled the Northeast last Feb- video surfaced of rats running world’s ians in Baghdad, not only was 10 Don Imus ruary grounded planes on the amok in a Manhattan Taco media CEO Erik Prince called to testify Though his ratings weren’t what runway for up to 12 hours. The Bell/KFC restaurant. While it landed at before Congress but it called into they used to be, the original was an isolated incident, the PR the college. Larry Hincker, AVP question the practices of the pri- “shock jock” had to realize peo- hit was still nasty. for university relations, was vate security company. ple were listening when he used a forced to create a makeshift com- racially charged term to describe 4 NBA’s gambling referee munications team from schools 8 GAPchild labor issue the Rutgers University women’s Veteran NBA referee Tim Don- within the college to manage the This year it was GAP’s turn to basketball team. Not only did aghy’s involvement in a betting more than 600 reporters covering catch heat for child labor prac- advertisers pull out, but Imus was scandal led to his firing and the the story on site. tices. The much-maligned retailer fired days later. 5 5 ON THE BEAT the rest of them get here?’” Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D- Public affairs AK) and long shot presidential By Ted McKenna candidate speaking about his election to the Senate. Much that goes on in politics, the government, and corporate 5 “We will not allowanyone America can potentially fall to poke their snottynose into under the rubric of “public Frankly honest marijuana use and President our affairs.” Brands affairs.” What political scandal, product recall, or lobbying political quotes Clinton’s famous excuse. Russian President Vladimir Putin on US attempts to monitor recent that soared effort doesn’t have an interest- 1 “Whydon’t you 3 “Nowmyfriends,I wasn’t Russian elections. 1 Apple ing public communications shut up?” there.I’m sure it was a cultural Thanks to the hugely successful aspect to it? Spain’s King Carlos and pharmaceutical event.I launch of the iPhone and intro- This wealth of potential sto- to Venezuela Presi- was tied up at the time.” duction of the iPod Touch, Apple ries gives a reporter whose dent Hugo Chavez, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speak- continued to be a darling of Wall beat is public affairs plenty of who had just in- ing about Hillary Clinton’s Street, with its stock prices reach- options when it comes to sulted the former plans to support a Wood- ing an all-time company high of choosing stories to cover. prime minister stock museum. McCain $192 a share. Certainly, scandals are fun. of Spain. was a POW in Vietnam Interesting, too, are those big during the 1969 festival. 2 TMZ bucks contracts that public 2 “I never under- The celebrity Web site separated affairs firms sign with foreign stood that line. 4 “The first time you itself from the pack this year by governments with dubious The point was to get there,you’re all launching a TV show. It also con- human rights programs. inhale.That was excited,‘MyGod,how tinued to break a number of sto- Certainly, expensive promo- the point.” did I ever get here?’Then, ries about celebrity breakdowns, tional or educational cam- Sen. Barack Obama about sixmonths later, divorces, and deaths. paigns merit coverage, but so (D-IL) on his past you say,‘Howthe hell did do innovative, viral campaigns 3 Nintendo conceived of and managed by The launch of the still 5 volunteers. These campaigns standing in the sphere of mili- hard-to-find Wii can involve online media or be taryand defense affairs.” gaming system at of the old-fashioned word-of- Chinese foreign ministry spokes- the end of 2006 set mouth variety, whether the person Qin Gang speaking about Nintendo up for an audience the public affairs the first visit by a Chinese war- all but can’t miss campaigns seek to reach are ship to Tokyo since World opportunity to the American people as a War II. have a wonderful 2007. whole or the just a few hun- It didn’t miss. dred key “influentials” in Honestly absurd 5 “Your foot came toward Washington, DC. Where then do story ideas political quotes mine,mine came towards yours. Was that natural? I don’t know. 4 Wal-Mart Aside from its usual financial come from? From just about 1 “As yesterday’s positive report Did we bump? Yes.I think we dominance, the retail giant also anywhere, including conven- card shows,childrens do learn did.You said so.I don’t disagree won a slight reprieve from critics tional news stories that invari- when standards are high and with that.” by concentrating on its environ- ably have a “communications” results are measured.” Disgraced Sen. Larry Craig mental program to reduce waste angle worth exploring, to DoJ President George W. Bush (R-ID) during a police inter- and promote sustainability – one filings and other public data- extolling the benefits of the rogation following his encounter that has served as a model for the bases to – most important – No Child Left Behind Act. 3 “In Iran,we don’t have homo- with an undercover police offi- rest of big industry. tips and off-hand comments sexuals,like in your country.In cer in an airport bathroom in from public affairs profession- 2 “We want democracy,we want Iran we do not have this phenom- Minnesota. 5 Facebook als who pass along word about human rights,we want civil liber- enon.I don’t knowwho has told The social networking site hit its the latest RFP, contract win by ties,but we will do it our way.” you that we have it.” stride this year, becoming a must- themselves or a competitor, or Pakistan Presi- Iranian President Mahmoud join among business people. It interesting trend they have dent Pervez Ahmadinejad, in a speech at was able to address users’ con- noticed. Those tips best flow Musharraf Columbia University. cerns about privacy swiftly and during lunch, coffee breaks, on his decla- managed to preserve its loyal fol- or happy hour. Anyone free? ration of mar- 4 “We hope this visit will be lowing, as well as snag a $240 mil- tial law. able to enhance mutual under- lion investment from Microsoft. PRWeek • December 24, 2007 • www.prweek.com BOOK OF LISTS 11 10 strategist for the Texas-based after spending three years at 9 Wexler goes to Ogilvy Public Strategies. the agency. His LinkedIn page Nu Wexler traded in his chief says he’s “taking a break from spokesman post at Wal-Mart 3 Blackstone hires PR help [his] full-time professional life Watch for a spot in the public The historically reticent pri- to focus on what’s important to affairs practice group of Ogilvy vate equity firm The Blackstone [him],” which definitely leaves PR’s DC office. Group tapped former Goldman the door open for a plethora Sachs PR executive Peter Rose of possibilities. 10 Hughes leaves DC Staff moves that to serve as its MD of public af- President Bush’s under secret- made the news fairs. The company certainly had a need for PR help after its $4.7 5 Lark goes to Dell 7 Wadler joins MWW Ame Wadler left her chief strate- ary of state, Karen Hughes, an- nounced her resignation, effec- 1 TonySnowresigns billion IPO spurred lawmakers Former CMO of LogLogic, gic officer and global healthcare tive mid-December. While she’s The Fox radio/TV pundit turned to talk about raising taxes on the Andy Lark decamped for Dell, lead post at Burson-Marsteller to credited with making changes White House press secretary left private equity industry. taking the role of VP of global become EVP, chief management within the State Department, the post in September. Despite marketing and communications. officer and global healthcare lead many say her impact on improv- battles with 4 Motorola chief steps down He has already been part of Dell’s at MWW Group. ing the US’ image in the Muslim colon cancer, Even though CEO Edward recent landmark move to create a world has been minimal. Snow cited Zander was able to come out standalone agency within WPP 8 Feldman leaves DreamWorks money as on top in a battle with Carl Icahn, that will handle all marcomms Bob Feldman exited his post at the reason. he couldn’t fulfill his promise efforts for the company. the animation company to start to shareholders to provide a Feldman & Partners, a manage- 2 Bartlett joins Public Strategies better follow-up to the mega- 6 Tenderich leaves Bite ment consulting firm. It counts Former White House counselor successful Razr. In turn, he Burghardt Tenderich left his GM among its clients Moody’s, The Dan Bartlett became a senior resigned his post. position at Bite Communications Home Depot, and DreamWorks. 5 5 instantly is a one-minute video tion, and the content on the site is ON THE BEAT describing the agency’s philoso- updated. But what helps tran- phy, latest blog post, and case scend Horn Group’s site to one Technology/BayArea studies. that awed is the simplicity of its By Aarti Shah blog page. The homepage takes 2 fleishman.com you directly to the official Horn This year tech was all about OK, the site does take a little Group blog, and you’re able to the consumer. Web 2.0 hit its longer to load than it should, immediately transfer to other peak, morphing everything it Brands Agency sites but it also has a simple landing Horn employee-written blogs touched into a social network that sunk that awed* point, and does understand that you can have a little bit of a scroll and client-written blogs. or user-generated site. I’ve noticed how gingerly 1 Sears Holdings 1 gcigroup.com on a homepage. Information on agencies are stepping into the This year, the owner of the Fleishman-Hillard is in uniform, Web 2.0 sphere, excited about Sears and Kmart retail stores an- easy-to-digest bites. innovation yet cautious about nounced a 99% drop in third- overselling. And of course, cov- quarter profits from $196 million 3 capstrat.com ering an industry that relies on to just $2 million year over year. It Many agencies have tried to show both hype and secrecy, this will certainly have to do better if it its “people.” Capstrat’s ingenious has meant communications ever hopes to compete again with panoramic view of the office suc- range from effusive to coy. the likes of Wal-Mart and Target. ceeds where everyone else failed. In a sector known for novel- Every single employee appears to 5 edelman.com ties, several companies made 2 Mattel have a bio, declarative proof that The main image immediately lasting impact. While its stock price GCI Group is clearly taking great it’s an agency that cares about all draws your eyes in, then as you The iPhone promised a revo- wasn’t severely dam- emphasis on positioning itself as a of its employees. gravitate downward, you get a lution, and whether it delivered aged by this year’s creative agency. The animation is sense of the thought leadership depends on how you define the toy recalls, the hit to decent enough, but what is 4 horngroup.com from Edelman available at the term. But the device did turn its reputation is breathtaking about the site is its The homepage is clean, the rotat- site. The rotating career opportu- mobile apps into a feasible inevitable. remarkable simplicity. Available ing image captures your atten- nities banner is a smart move, too. reality. Consumers also forgave Apple for its early price mis- 3 Ampd Mobile steps, further intimidating the 5 One of the worst tech collapses mation that might be relevant rest of the industry with just since the dot bomb, the cell about the firm. how loyal its followers are. phone company filed for bank- The showdown between ruptcy in June, letting a $360 mil- 2 www.schwartz.com Google and Yahoo intensified, lion investment go to waste. You lost us, immediately, with with Yahoo undergoing a mas- the homepage flash animation sive upheaval to gain traction. 4 BritneySpears of falling letters that assemble to Despite some startups, search Spears made such a mess of her spell out GS Schwartz & Co. largely remained a two-, or life in 2007 that a judge awarded Agency sites Where’s the content to draw in arguably, a one-engine game. unemployed ex-husband K-Fed custody of their kids. Lowlights that annoyed* the reader? But it gets worse. The news releases are PDFs, the site a good SEO firm because from its opening image to a list of cli- Those without Facebook pro- files risked being lost in a social include: numerous panty-less 1 bursonmarsteller.com changes fonts at random, and the ents, it all appears to be locked network oblivion, as millions exits from cars, a head shaving, You may wonder, “When will it navigation is unnecessary due to up in Flash prison. That, com- signed on for the site’s third- and the infamous dead-in-the- ever load?” Ah, yes, you had to the paucity of info on the site. bined with no thought leader- party applications and clean eyes performance at the wait for the animated avatar to ship content, is no way to build interface. Though MySpace still MTV Video Music Awards. get ready to spout bland market- 3 text100.com organic traffic. dominates social networking ing speak. Combined with the The agency that was first to con- sites, 2007 reminded us how 5 Citigroup huge promotion for CEO Mark quer Second Life still has not fig- 5 waggeneredstrom.com fickle Web 2.0 users can be. Getting caught up in Penn’s book “Microtrends,” the ured out how to put RSS feeds on WE’s inclusion here is unfortu- Insiders predict an inevitable the sub-prime fallout, site wants to hide whatever infor- its news section. Combined with nate, given the site is easy to use recession in 2008 that will turn it not only posted a an image of people doing hand- and has a lot of information. But the Valley’s attention from con- $6.4 billion loss, but stands, the miniscule navigation the homepage looks like a poorly sumer to the enterprise mar- CEO Chuck Prince buried on the left-hand side, and put-together high school paper, ket. Even so, this year’s con- was forced to resign. the undistinguished marketing and the text randomly changes sumer pioneers set the stage It announced plans copy, this site does not impress. colors and sizes. A PR firm should for a Web transformation that to lay off more than know about first impressions. will keep unfolding, no matter 40,000, and its stock 4 www.coynepr.com how the Valley’s tides turn. continues to tumble. Coyne PR must have employed * Based on sites as of December 3. www.prweek.com • December 24, 2007 • PRWeek BOOK OF LISTS 13 5 ONTHE BEAT 2 Associated Press bal elite, but it is ONTHE BEAT As more US papers close their making solid Media foreign bureaus while slashing inroads in the Consumer By Hamilton Nolan budgets, the AP is becoming the US. The title’s By Michael Bush country’s authoritative source of Web site is The biggest media story of foreign news reporting. With a strong, and it Covering the consumer beat in 2007 – in fact, the only real world in upheaval, it is now more even leaks con- 2007 didn’t leave much time media story of 2007 – was indispensable than ever to both tent to influential bloggers to for rest. It seemed as if every the changes being inflicted Media brands papers and readers across the US. build buzz. Watch for it to grow other week there was another on the media by the Internet. Every other story was an on the rise 3 NBC Universal into a full-blown competitor to the top US newsweeklies. major RFP being issued or a six- to seven-figure assign- offshoot of this fundamental 1 DowJones NBCU captured some of parent ment being pitched. And get- dynamic. DJ must be happy to be under company GE’s expensive green 5 NewYork magazine ting anyone to talk about Rupert Murdoch fulfilled a News Corp’s welcoming um- sheen with a huge programming From its growing Web site capa- those isn’t easy. lifelong dream of his by buy- brella, rather than being run by push late in the year. And its TV bilities to the break-out issues of It was a year of many crisis- ing up Dow Jones and its real careless family ownership. The networks are doing well – Brian its Look Book feature to picking and issues-management ef- prize, The Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal is now poised Williams is popular, MSNBC is up a few national magazine forts, new media campaigns, Rumors are swirling that he for a breakout year – but will Ru- creeping up on CNN, and CNBC awards, the brand has enjoyed brand relaunches, brand ex- will make WSJ.com, the only pert Murdoch impact the edito- is poised to fight off a challenge a successful year all around. It pansions, partnerships, and, really successful paid news- rial quality? Only time to tell. from Fox Business Network. even curried some favor with once again, less AOR and more paper Web site, free for all, the National Organization for specialty assignment pitches. illustrating the increasingly 4 The Economist Women by finally agreeing to All the while, brands were look- clear theory that online money The magazine has long been con- stop accepting sex ads for the ing for new avenues of con- flows from advertising, not sidered indispensable to the glo- back of its magazine. sumer engagement. subscriptions. Probably more than any Across town, The New York other year before it, 2007 saw 5 Times geared up for what may post” by news anchor Katie Cou- motions to help the flailing paper. consumer oriented brands become a global newspaper ric that her staff actually wrote. It But initial enthusiasm for Tierney turn to PR for more than just war with the Journal. The Grey was hoped her arrival would re- has waned as he tossed out bad media relations. This could be Lady poured resources into its vive the network after the debacle ideas like turning the paper’s for a number of reasons, in- own Web site, which is now the that ended Dan headquarters into a movie bill- cluding ad-budget reductions, class of the news business. Rather’s career. board and allowing a local bank companies finally starting to The business side, however, Instead, ratings to sponsor a news column. realize that PR agencies are is another story: continued fell further and just as well suited to handle declines in revenue and an Media brands the future looks 5 The NewRepublic new media and digital assign- intransigent management caused large shareholder that hit the skids bleak. The refined DC thought maga- zine had an unquestionably bad ments as are ad agencies, and a greater need for integration Morgan Stanley to dump its 1 Tribune Company 3 US News & World Report year. Business woes forced it to with other disciplines. shares in the Times, a terrify- Supercapitalist Sam Zell scooped Already a distant third in the cut its total of yearly issues nearly One consumer PR pro re- ing vote of no confidence from up the troubled entity earlier this newsweeklies race, it took a hit in half. And a scandal over wheth- cently told me that as brands the financial establishment. year in a multibillion-dollar deal. to its reputation this year as well, er an anonymous soldier writing begin to reallocate their ad While newspapers floun- But his optimism can’t change its when a group of colleges chal- tales from Iraq dollars, they’re not looking dered, online properties con- harsh financial outlook nor the lenged its popular annual rank- was in fact to fill those gaps with publicity tinued to grow. Whether it was new financial burden placed on ings system, calling it “mislead- lying, led many or events. Instead brands are established media companies its unhappy employees. ing” to prospective students. to question its asking PR agencies to make driving more and more traffic competency in the connection with consu- online, or upstart Web compa- 2 CBS News 4 The Philadelphia Inquirer both journal- mers they normally would nies snatching away market The year was marred by embar- PR man Brian Tierney promised ism and com- through traditional ad efforts. share from the old names, it is rassing missteps like a “blog snazzy new marketing and pro- munications. This year also saw the level becoming clear that the read- of integration between PR and ership pie is not infinite. other disciplines increase due 10 The quest to build media purchased 11 million copies in to spice up business reporting. to the fact that brands want to brands, too, has almost fully the first 24 hours. The book also Several issues in, many are still provide a 360-degree market- integrated the online world. went global in 93 countries. wondering if its editorial content ing experience for consumers. The need to have a viable can catch up to its ad sales. As a result, some firms were strategy for dealing with the 4 Alli asked how they work with Internet as a communications A huge marketing blitz helped 8 A380 agency partners before even medium is now readily appar- drive dieters to pick up the first The new Airbus took flight with making their pitch. ent. Big-name news outlets and only FDA approved over- the media when it launched the A number of consumer PR that try to coast on their repu- Product debuts the-counter weight-loss pill. Sales world’s largest commercial pas- pros also reported that 2007 tations, minimize the impor- tance of the Web, or are simply we couldn’t miss have surpassed $150 million to date, proving that unpleasant senger jet. For its US debut, there were about 120 news media out- brought a lot of RFPs from major brands focusing on not skillful in online communi- 1 Apple iPhone side effects won’t deter Amer- lets at JFK, 40 at O’Hare, and non-traditional PR assign- cations, will suffer in ways they Following a big buzz icans from shrinking their more than ments. This more than likely never thought possible. around its launch, the pant size. 200 accred- has to do with marketers shift- PRWeek’s media section tries iPhone became this ited media ing a bigger share of their to create a good mix of specif- year’s hottest new item, 5 Halo 3 personnel focus to digital efforts. ic and trend stories. My philos- selling more than a This Microsoft launch set a at LAX. The past year can also be ophy is that anything happen- million units to date. new US record for opening- viewed as one in which mar- ing structurally in the media is The sleek, aesthetic day sales by an entertainment 9 Microsoft Windows Vista keters who were serious about inherently important to PR design and Web 2.0 property – $170 million. It One of Microsoft’s biggest con- connecting with consumers pros. Therefore, we don’t con- capabilities made it an made the covers of Time and sumer launches ever included realized that digital initiatives centrate our media coverage instant techie favorite. Rolling Stone, too. appearances by Bill Gates on were no longer just add-ons. only on how media properties both Today and The Daily Show And even if they won’t com- do PR – we cover the media 2 High School Musical 2 6 Google Android with Jon Stewart. pletely admit it, it seemed as as an end in itself. The sequel to the mega-hit origi- Google generated buzz for its if brands were trying to make Ongoing macro-trends like nal film, HSM2 had 17.2 million new mobile platform, slated to 10 XO Computer PR more of a driving force be- the troubles of the newspaper fans of all ages glued to the screen. launch in 2008, by releasing a Nicholas Negroponte’s nonprofit hind their marketing mix. (and now, magazine) industry software developer kit that offers One Laptop per Child is averag- When you add all of this up, and how new delivery plat- 3 HarryPotter and the a peek at what it might look like. ing $2 million a day in donations what you have is a successful forms are affecting journalism DeathlyHallows since introducing the first low- 2007 and a 2008 that looks will continue to be covered The seventh and last book from 7 Portfolio cost, energy efficient computer promising for the consumer heavily in the year to come. the series caused a cycle of book Condé Nast launched the glossy designed for children in devel- PR industry. parties nationwide. Diehard fans business mag with the intention oping nations. www.prweek.com • December 24, 2007 • PRWeek 14 BOOK OF LISTS 10 5 ONTHE BEAT: by asking the five major holding social networking, Twittering, companies to create a singular and GPS-tagged texting gives Corporate/financial; agency housing all disciplines. everyone the chance to play PR services The reward was $4.5 billion in reality star. By Tonya Garcia billings over the next three years. WPP won and is expected to 3 “Pro-social” This year has been particularly have a 1,000-staffer firm up and An academic-lexicon staple, tumultuous for corporations, running by March. this all-purpose adjective has financial services companies, Business events Terms we didn’t now been adopted by networks and even the average home- owner, creating a need for a that caused a stir 6 Thain to head Merrill Lynch For the second time in his career, hear before ’07 including MTV, TV Land, and BET as shorthand for “good more free exchange of infor- 1 Microsoft gets a little Facebook John Thain will look to revive a 1 Sandwich generation corporate citizen; gives back mation than many executives Microsoft bought a 1.6% stake troubled company. The former Baby Boomers juggling the often to society.” are accustomed to. in the social networking site for Goldman Sachs exec and NYSE conflicting responsibilities of I can’t say that many compa- $240 million, which took the site’s Euronext head stunned many by 4 Churchonomics nies or their firms have opened value to $15 billion. This made becoming chairman and CEO. From community sanctuaries up and shared their deepest the 20% stake owned by founder to megachurches, religious lead- PR secrets with me. But in and Harvard dropout Mark 7 Sun reinterprets fair disclosure ers across the US are moonlight- speaking to some of the com- Zuckerberg, 23, worth $3 billion. Sun Microsystems shook things ing as word-of-mouth marketers munications pros in this area, up by issuing earnings results on for faith-friendly movies, books, there seems to be a certain its Web site before pushing the and products. acceptance that they must information out on the wires. The open up, at least a little. difference was only 10 minutes, 5 Semantic Web Service companies have felt but it has SEC chair Christopher supporting teenage or adult chil- Also known as Web 3.0 (or the landscape shift beneath Cox thinking about the Internet’s dren and aging parents. Call it the “pedantic Web”), this next- their feet, too. In response, role in earnings disclosure. “grilled stress on rye, heavy on evolution of the WWW merges they have evolved to meet the the pickles.” records into a global database, needs of changing technolo- 8 Stock market roller coaster allowing for computers to find gies and innovations. The 2 Sub-prime meltdown The stock market has been jump- 2 Lifecasting and integrate information more explosion in Web video, for Rates for sub-prime mortgages ing and diving all year, but it has This self-indulgent amalga- easily. Whoever can explain it example, has been met with jumped, causing economy-wide held on. The Dow Jones, in fact, mation of 24/7 streaming video, gets a prize. multimedia offerings, greater problems, including stalled IPOs surpassed the 13,000-point mark online monitoring, and meas- and buyouts. Treasury officials despite the turmoil. 5 urement capabilities. Collabo- and mortgage lenders will work everything rations between service com- together to staunch the bleed. 9 Rupert Murdoch buys WSJ from alterna- panies and PR firms are chang- Murdoch’s News Corp bought tive light-bulb ing how organizations commu- 3 Sallie Mae buyout crumbles Dow Jones & Co., including the use to wearing nicate with their stakeholders. SLM Corp., parent of Sallie Mae, venerable WSJ, for $5 billion. hemp-soled Nevertheless, change is diffi- took its potential buyers to court Journalists wondered aloud how shoes. Taking cult. Companies that produce to save the $25 billion deal. The his influence will affect the paper. action is critical, but let’s lose VNRs are now grappling with buyers said new federal laws low- the color-coded euphemism. the FCC’s interpretation of how ered Sallie Mae’s value and want- Terms we hope organizations should disclose this footage. And who says Reg ed to renegotiate, but Sallie Mae has rejected alternative offers. not tohear again 4 Masstige Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, FD means you must announce 1 Transparent Target... of course we still love your earnings via a newswire? 4 Dubai buys NASDAQ stake We know: In this post-Enron ’em. But pseudo-French pro- The Web’s ubiquity means the Borse Dubai, the government- world, honesty is key. But let’s nunciations are so last year. SEC and public companies can controlled exchange for the emi- leave “transparency” for Riedel consider online alternatives. rate, bought a 19.9% stake in the 10 Yahoo CEO steps down stemware, and just tell the truth. 5 “Don’t tase me bro!” Working two beats that have NASDAQ and the NASDAQ’s Terry Semel, a former entertain- College student Andrew Meyer’s relatively little common ground 28% stake in the London Stock ment executive who assumed the 2 Sub-prime loans plea to university police during admittedly gave me pause in Exchange. The new entity then CEO post in 2001, handed the It seemed like a good idea at the a John Kerry speech not only the beginning. However, the went on to bid $4.9 billion for the reigns back to Yahoo cofounder, time, for lenders to offer these spread like wildfire online, it exclusivity of the two sectors Swedish stock exchange OMX. Jerry Yang. Yahoo has struggled unconventional mortgage loans. also made its way onto bumper and the tiny ways in which they to compete with the likes of But now? See “foreclosure.” stickers and T-shirts. Just like overlap shine a light on the in- 5 Dell,WPPannounce DaVinci Google, MySpace, and others, his incessant wailing after get- tricacies of the industry. In 2007, Dell sought to stream- so there’s no guarantee that 3 “Going green” ting zapped, this phrase makes line its entire marcomms function Yang will fare any better. It’s become a catch-all term for our ears bleed. 5 5 2 Roger Goodell Jobs offered everyone store credit 3 John “Pat”Philbin When Goodell to keep his fans happy. When your agency is facing its was named as biggest crisis of the year, do not Paul Tagliabue’s 4 Arnold Schwarzenegger hold an impromptu fake press successor as There aren’t many doubters in conference. Philbin, former head NFL commis- California these days. The Gover- of public affairs at FEMA, did sioner, his bold nator has bounced back again just that when the organization talking may have been recognized, and again, showing leadership in tried to set up a last-minute press Communicators but initial skepticism remained at the midst of the worst disaster in Communicators conference in the midst of the we liked to hear his ability to deal with the league’s problems. Goodell was unwaver- the state since the Northridge earthquake and by defying his we couldn’t bear Southern California wildfires. 1 Al Gore ing, though, suspending Pacman own party on a number of issues. 1 Scott Boras 4 Hugo Chavez The former VP won a Nobel Jones for the entire season and By announcing that his client Alex Being belligerent in front of the Prize this fall, capping off a cam- Michael Vick indefinitely. 5 Rupert Murdoch Rodriguez would opt out of his UN and being told to shut up by paign that began with the release When his bid for Dow Jones contract during the World Series, the King of Spain didn’t help his of his film An Inconvenient Truth. 3 Steve Jobs was first announced, it was Boras took greed to a new level. international respectability any. He’s been a better communicator For the first time in recent mem- viewed by many as something outside of elected office. ory, there were missteps for Mr. that would never happen. But 2 Fred Thompson 5 John Mackey Apple, yet the CEO seemed to Murdoch managed to say all the A campaign that Apparently, the CEO of Whole effortlessly guide the company right things at the right times – was supposed to Foods never got the transparency back on track. With the iPhone’s emphasizing commitment to light a fire under memo. In July, he was caught launch, he introduced the latest editorial quality – and in the pro- the GOP has posting to the comments sec- must-have toy, and when it re- cess snagged one of the crown not excited tion of the company Web site’s duced the price only weeks later, jewels of business media. anyone. blog using a pseudonym. PRWeek • December 24, 2007 • www.prweek.com BOOK OF LISTS 17 10 ON THE BEAT olina after election officials re- 8 Marc makes ON THE BEAT fused him ballot space, but The his mark Entertainment/Los Angeles Colbert Report got more buzz. Hip-hop fash- Healthcare By Randi Schmelzer ion mogul By Marc Longpre 4 Radiohead Robin Hood Marc Ecko Entertainment PR master- The band made headlines in bought Barry It’s fair to say that health- minds have relied on the most November by offering the digital Bonds’ record 756th home run care hasn’t enjoyed this type innovative new-media tactics version of their latest album on a ball and then launched a Web site of attention in many years. to connect with consumers. Stunts that were pay-what-you-want basis. asking visitors to vote on its fate. From Michael Moore to Steve Still, 2007 might ultimately be The majority wanted it branded Case, just about everyone remembered as the year PR Barnum worthy 5 Simpson circles with an asterisk and sent to the wanted to weigh in on our looked back. 1 TonySoprano closes his eyes The Simpsons Movie made a Hall of Fame. Bonds called Ecko beleaguered system. Be it a movie or TV-show A circus-like frenzy for the hit splash on the other side of the an “idiot,” which likely earned In the presidential race, the remake (3:10 to Yuma, Bionic show’s finale ended with a thud pond when marketers carved a the latter even more street cred. Democrats raced to say univer- Woman) or a new twist on an as nothing seemingly happens ex- Homer crop circle in the English sal coverage as quickly as pos- ’80s fave (Transformers, Hair- cept Tony blinks just after Mead- countryside. Despite outrage, the 9 The Cartoonabomber sible, debated one another’s spray), entertainment publicity ow walks into the diner and cre- film grossed nearly $28 million In February, Cartoon Network respective plans, and remi- got positively retro. Take 20th ator David Chase decided to roll on opening weekend in the UK. marketers planted blinking light nisced over Hillary Clinton’s Century Fox’s endeavor on the credits. You could hear an installments under bridges and failure in 1994. In Congress, behalf of July’s The Simpsons entire nation screaming “What?!” 6 Kanye and 50 Cent overpasses, sparking a security the State Children’s Health Movie, in which previously The two hip-hop stars squared scare. The stunt planners landed Insurance Program (SCHIP) peaceful US Springfields bat- 2 Captain gets capped off in an album-selling war. 50 in jail, but everyone now knows has proved to be the defining tled to be voted the official This summer’s JFK-style promised to retire if he was beat. there’s a network for cartoons. domestic battle of the Bush home of Homer. Inventive and assassination of Captain Who won? Both. Kanye and 50 years, while also serving as a attention-grabbing, yes – but it America drew coverage landed on Rolling Stone’s cover. 10 The iMoan potential preview to the larger was all for a series older than from nearly all major Steve Jobs caught heat when battle ahead. many of its most fervent fans. media outlets. 7 David Beckham hits US soil prices for the Apple iPhone were Big Pharma also got its fair While some stars attracted The frenzy surrounding the slashed by $200 shortly after it hit share of the limelight. Merck’s press more for their time be- 3 Colbert for Prez soccer god’s US arrival was so the shelves. But he offered early- Gardasil, the HPV vaccine that hind bars than in them, Disney Steven Colbert’s overwhelming that it almost adopter rebates, scored head- had been building positive was transporting tweens to a bid for president didn’t matter that he only lines, and got people back into press since the Food and Drug more innocent era, particularly may have ended ended up playing five games the stores to spend their rebates Administration approved it via sweet-and-sensitive Hannah in South Car- due to ankle injuries. on more merchandise. back in June of last year, was Montana and clean-but-cool suddenly the most controver- High School Musical 2. sial issue out there, following 5 Disney wasn’t alone in its when Ray Jordan, VP of public 4 1000words.kodak.com Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) man- enlightened approach to good, affairs and corporate communi- Yes, yes – a picture is worth a date. Eventually Merck bowed old-fashioned entertainment. cations, honestly explained why thousand words. And a blog to the building pressure and On July 7, the Live Earth con- the company was engaging in a that ties closely to Kodak’s goals dropped all lobbying surround- certs created a global commu- reputation-threatening lawsuit is worth a million. Giving staffers ing the product. nity around music and climate- against the American Red Cross. a photo blog – even if they’re And much was made of the consciousness. After a teary not the greatest snapshots in the lightweight pipelines around send-off to retiring host Bob world – is a simple way to boost the industry, and the heated Barker, CBS renewed its com- Corporate blogs employee passion and humanize competition to license drugs mitment to The Price Is Right, tapping Drew Carey as its new that built buzz the company. from smaller biotech compa- nies. Of course, one such star. And Christian community 1 www.direct2dell.com 5 www.zillowblog.com deal ended badly when Pfizer leaders played media watch- Dell continues its return from Zillow’s blog manages to accom- dropped Nektar’s Exubera and dog, alerting filmgoers to sacri- online comms purgatory in the 3 stonyfield.typepad.com/ plish great synchronicity between pundits wondered whether lege in films like Harry Potter second year of its Direct2Dell babybabble promoting the Zillow product Pfizer’s corporate reputation and the Order of the Phoenix blog. The posts are a mix of pro- The StonyField Farm Baby Bab- and providing valuable informa- might take a hit and affect its and The Golden Compass. motional and troubleshooting ble blog is a perfect example of tion. The service that Zillow, a ability to compete in the mar- In LA, morality was an issue advice, perfect for the customers company as content producer. provider of online real-estate ket. Regardless, communica- beyond the box office. Several who love the products, but hated This blog is solely dedicated to services, can provide through its tions efforts between biotech metro medical centers were their customer service for so long. providing information about blog is very important, consider- and Big Pharma have taken on accused of dumping homeless rearing children. As such, visitors ing the uncertainty and lack of a new weight recently. patients on the city’s drug- 2 www.jnjbtw.com will instinctively think of the com- sensible information in today’s And, of course, the FDA itself infested Skid Row. SoCal J&J’s blog reached a high point pany as an expert on child health. real-estate market. was the topic on the lips of burned, prompting questions many a communicator, with about the region’s emergency- the agency stuck in the midst 5 preparedness plans. And then- GE’s “From Edison’s Desk” sci- of the Avandia mess and busy married LA mayor Antonio entist blog. Unfortunately, the 40 looking into how it might better Villaraigosa became romanti- some-odd contributors have only communicate risk to consu- cally involved with newswoman found the time to create 29 total mers. FDA reform has been Mirthala Salinas, prompting posts this year (as of December 1). one of the hot topics in the inquiries regarding his “devot- healthcare beat this year, and ed family man” image and her 3 blog.delicious.com it’s not likely to disappear journalistic integrity. This is sad for such a revolution- despite some movement on As 2007 ends, much of the Corporate blogs ary, Web 2.0 company. Not only and apologies for outage issues. the front. entertainment industry is over- shadowed by the ongoing that bored has it not updated the blog since September, the blog was never That’s fine, but the seriousness of those posts have drained the fun For PRWeek, I’m excited to cover stories from across the WGA-AMPTP conflict. Unable 1 googleblog.blogspot.com that interesting when populated. out of the irreverent initial intent. spectrum: public affairs in to agree on new-media resid- It’s chock full of information, With all its data and the fact that Washington, product launches ual payments, writers are lever- but it’s not very compelling. The folks were populating del.icio.us 5 blog.ask.com from Big Pharma, and new aging a decades-old labor tack straight-laced prose is a bit tedi- with interesting content, why At its core essence, the Ask.com developments from the world – striking – to convey their de- ous – not what you’d expect of were the posts only about prod- blog is just another way to use of biotech. In addition, I’ve also mands. What this means for Googlers after reading countless uct extensions and how-tos? Ask.com for searches. Every post launched The Pulse, a new blog entertainment PR and the eco- profiles of how awesome it is to seemed to be either overtly pro- where I hope to discuss some nomic well-being of LA is only work for the search-engine giant. 4 yodel.yahoo.com motional or just a series of links topics in the field that might beginning to become appar- The Yahoo Anecdotal blog to the result page for obvious otherwise not get a full airing. ent. It doesn’t look good. 2 www.grcblog.com started out to put forth the vari- searches, as opposed to a place If 2007 was a big year for But with reruns, TiVo, and We admit the topic discussions ous musings of creative Yahoo to unearth interesting content. healthcare, expect 2008 to DVDs, we still have Springfield. are a bit over our head, but we staffers, but it devolved, as of late, Search engines may index blogs, be even bigger. can see the built-in audience for too much into self-promotion but they don’t seem to get them. www.prweek.com • December 24, 2007 • PRWeek
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