Agency M&A trends and predictions

January 6, 2017

Paul Holmes joins the Echo Chamber to discuss his annual review of mergers & acquisition activity in the global PR market. Independent firms continue to drive dealmaking, but this year's list is as notable for the firms that are active (including management consultancies) as for the companies that were relatively inactive in 2016 — such names as Teneo, BlueFocus and Omnicom. Holmes and Arun Sudhaman discuss what recent M&A trends mean for the market and offer up some deal predictions for the next 12 months, as 2017 shapes up to be another restless year for agency M&A activity.


2016 review with Omnicom’s David Gallagher

December 9, 2016

Omnicom PR Group international president David Gallagher joins the Echo Chamber to review the tumultuous events of 2016, including Brexit and Donald Trump's election victory. Gallagher explores the implications for public relations professionals and also casts his eye over some of the key agency trends from the past 12 months, including his newly-created role that involves Omnicom's 10 PR firms.


Partner Content: Hacks & Flacks Interviews Bloomberg’s Anne Mostue

November 30, 2016

Bloomberg is a brand of contrasts. It’s simultaneously one of the biggest names in news, while also flying under the radar for those of us who don’t keep up on the latest in business or investment. The Bloomberg Boston office is inconspicuously tucked away on two upper floors of a Downtown Crossing high-rise, but within that space, reporters are creating stories that are read and heard by a huge international audience.

In this episode of Hacks and Flacks we talk to Anne Mostue, radio anchor and reporter at Bloomberg Boston, to help PR professionals get a better sense for this dichotomy. After transitioning from the world of public radio, Anne now spends each afternoon on Bloomberg’s airwaves, covering the latest in finance for an audience of movers and shakers. She describes the types of news that’s important to her audience, the differences between Bloomberg and her past stops in journalism, plus the best ways for PR professionals to pitch her.


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Data & media lessons from Trump’s election victory

November 16, 2016

The Echo Chamber tries to make some sense of Donald Trump's shock election win. Portland head of insights Emily Hunt discusses how the pollsters got it so wrong, and what this means for the 'fetishization' of big data. Then Paul Holmes drops by to offer his observations on media influence, fake news and the post-truth era, following his lengthy analysis of the election

Show Notes

How did the pollsters get it so wrong?

The Global Trust Crisis: 'Truth Matters More Than Ever'


Tata vs Mistry PR battle

November 8, 2016

Amith Prabhu joins the Echo Chamber to discuss the dramatic boardroom coup at Indian corporate giant Tata, which has since devolved into a gripping public relations battle involving several agencies and communications pros, as India's most important conglomerate looks to preserve its hard-earned reputation for integrity.


GOP Strategists Talk About Trump and the Party’s Future

November 2, 2016

The latest Echo Chamber episode explores the highly-unusual rhetoric around the US presidential election, especially from the Republican nominee Donald Trump. Aarti Shah talks to two GOP strategists — Tucker Bounds and David Almacy — about Trump's communications strategy and what Trump's divisive rhetoric ultimately means for the future of the Republican party and how the GOP can rebuild its standing with groups that are largely eschewing Trump. 

Editor's Note: These interviews were recorded before the FBI announced it was re-opening its investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.

PokerStars Communications Chief Eric Hollreiser

October 13, 2016

Eric Hollreiser, corporate communications head at online gaming giant PokerStars, joins the Echo Chamber to discuss the various twists and turns that have defined the company's recent history, starting with 'Black Friday' in 2011, when the US Department of Justice issued indictments that effectively suspended the three largest online poker websites. After withdrawing from the US, PokerStars concluded a $731m settlement with the DoJ, which included the acquisition of rival Full Tilt Poker and the relaunch of the business in 2012. PokerStars was then acquired by Amaya Gaming in 2014, before the latter company's CEO was charged in Canada's biggest-ever insider trading investigation. Hollreiser details the ups and downs of the various communications issues related to these events; since this podcast was recorded, meanwhile, news of a £5bn merger between William Hill and Amaya has emerged. 


Alan VanderMolen; Barri Rafferty

October 7, 2016

Arun Sudhaman catches up with WE Communications international president Alan VanderMolen in Hong Kong to talk about the rapid pace of digital marketing evolution in China, following the Holmes Report's Asia-Pacific In2 Innovation Summit. The former Edelman executive also offers plenty of insight into his plans for WE Communications, and discusses MSLGroup's restructuring within Publicis Groupe, suggesting that the changes will ultimately weaken the PR network's positioning.

In part two, Ketchum global president Barri Rafferty talks to Aarti Shah about the continuing struggle for gender parity amongst agency leadership ranks, touching on such topics as the VaynerMediaJWT and Saatchi & Saatchi scandals. Rafferty also addresses the issue of diversity within the PR agency world, after attending the ColorComm conference.

Partner Content: Hacks & Flacks Digs Into Gawker’s Demise

October 7, 2016 is gone. Some people are upset, some people are dancing on its grave. Is there a right or a wrong perspective on Gawker’s demise? Was its fate deserved because of its controversial and confrontational editorial style, or was Peter Thiel’s cash-fueled vendetta an ugly harbinger of what could happen to the state of media if the powerful choose to litigate the free press into non-existence?

The hot Gawker takes have been flying left and right, and on this week’s Hacks and Flacks, Andrew Grzywacz and Manny Veiga try to dig through it all. 




New Business, Unicorns & Measurement

September 20, 2016
The latest Echo Chamber episode explores how agencies can improve their new business presentations, the role PR has played in the rise and fall of unicorns and AMEC's Measurement Month. Aarti Shah talks to Steve Astle who — until recently — was head of communications at FICO about what wowed him during agency business presentations, then Blueshirt CEO Alex Wellins talks about the US tech IPO landscape and the show closes with AMEC's Jeni Chapman discussing the organization's new measurement framework.