QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Stephen Davis

He gets down and dirty on the disco floor, he'll date a journo's

cousin to get coverage, and like any good PR guy, he's got a talented

tongue. Despite all this, he's a bit of an IR guru and surely the

profession's greatest advocate. Meet Stephen Davis, VP and IR hero of

Seattle (well, MWW/Savitt, anyway).



Tell us about your company. As part of IPG's MWW Group, we are a

strategic communications firm providing PR, brand marketing, public

affairs, IR, and visual communications services.



Now tell us something funny about it. Every year we hold an annual Disco

Party where we all dress up in our finest polyester, bell-bottoms, and

feathered-back hair. Every year it just gets better. We could give

Studio 54 a run for its money.



What is your greatest achievement? Teaching and giving lectures about PR

and IR to university students. I have a great love of this profession,

and feel it's part of my duty to ensure what we do is understood at the

undergraduate and graduate level.



What was your best pitch? Years ago, I went on a blind date with a

reporter's cousin "from out of town" in order to get ink for a client.

Let's just say the date was not favorable, but because of the favor, the

reporter talked her editor into a great story for my client. It was

truly a case of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." The reporter

and I are still friends to this day.



What was your biggest screw-up? Not getting an approval from a client in

writing. Always get it in writing, don't rely on verbal "approvals" over

the phone. CYA.



What's the most daring thing you've ever done? You wouldn't believe me

if I told you. (We'll tell you for a small fee. It's worth it - Ed.)



If you could work on one account, what would it be? American Airlines. I

think the problems before the company are challenging, to say the least,

but there is greater upside than downside in the long-term for it. If it

continues to play its cards right, it will be able to distinguish itself

as one of the best, if not the most stable, airlines in the country.



Write the headline for the story you would most like to read in PRWeek.

"Vapid Pretty Girl PR - The Trend That Was."



What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? "... You know, Seattle,

the Silicon Forest ..."



Which historical figure would you most like to represent? It would be

amazing to represent the 24 brokers who first formed the NYSE in 1792

under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. Launching the NYSE would be the

most amazing experience.



What's your party trick? I can tie the stem of a cherry into a knot with

my tongue in less than 10 seconds.



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