RealTime IT News

Northwest PR Agency Action

There has been some very interesting Internet/Wireless PR agency action going on in our region lately. In fact, at the beginning of this year Portland-based The Weber Group merged with Shandwick International to form Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

The two companies are not strangers to each other. They both belonged to the same parent company: New York-based The Interpublic Group of Companies.

Interpublic apparently decided to combine the technology practice of Weber Public Relations Worldwide with Shandwick International to create a leadership position in key high growth practice areas, including technology, public affairs and entertainment.

According to Interpublic's President & COO John Dooner, the public relations field is being dramatically reshaped by the globalization of the economy, new developments in communications technology and the increasing need for specialized services.

"Given Interpublic's commitment to build the best in global communications resources in all marketing services sectors, we saw a clear opportunity to create two full service networks that are well-positioned to take advantage of these industry trends in every single region of the world."

Larry Weber, Chairman and CEO of IPG's Allied Communications Group, will be CEO of Weber Shandwick Worldwide and the firm will be headquartered in New York.

But just because the firm is based in the Big Apple, don't expect the The Weber Group guys down in Portland to slow down.

The Portland team of Weber Shandwick Worldwide just recently announced that they added four new clients.

The Weber Group is now the agency of record for Pivotal Corporation, Unicru, Inc. (formerly Decision Point Systems), OneName Corporation and Prosight, Incorporated.

Since opening in 1999, The Weber Group's Portland office has grown rapidly to a 22-person operation with $3.15 million in billings recorded in 2000. At its inception, Weber Shandwick Worldwide will represent global brands such as Dun & Bradstreet, Eastman Kodak, General Motors e-GM, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Monster.com, Northwest Airlines, and Verizon Wireless. The Weber Group Portland services a diverse range of high technology clients in the Pacific Northwest including Digimarc Corp., Activate and vJungle.

"We're servicing clients locally but really have a global set of capabilities and operations," says Dave Yewman, senior vice president and general manager of The Weber Group Portland. "With 68 offices in 22 countries and 2,500 PR professionals, the Weber Shandwick Worldwide organization can service both large corporations like General Motors and Hewlett Packard, and smaller local and regional startups."

Now here is some PR action that involves Portland and Kirkland. Kirkland-based pr.com has been acquired by Portland-based Wagged Edstrom.

Pr.com (its URL is prdot.com)is an agency solely focused on wireless and wireless Internet Communications. They represent such wireless clients as Ignition, UIEvolution, etrieve and Burst Wireless.

Pr.com's President and CEO Teresa Fausti founded the agency in 1996. Fausti has been in wireless for more than 15 years. She started her career at McCaw Cellular and later on AT&T Wireless and the CDPD and TDMA consortiums.

Over the last few months, pr.com was apparently approached by several large PR firms.

But the winner was Waggener Edstrom. The Portland-based company, best known in the Seattle area as the Rapid Response Team for Microsoft, also has a Woman executive at its helm.

According to Waggener Edstrom's CEO and President Melissa Waggener, the acquisition of pr.com expands Waggener Edstrom's expertise in the wireless-communication industry that is playing an increasingly important role in moving technology forward and changing how people communicate.

Pr.com will become a subsidiary of Waggener Edstrom, keeping its company name, leadership team of Tere