WASHINGTON: Ogilvy PR announced a formal alliance with lobbying agency The Dutko Group last week, acknowledging the difficulty of surviving in DC these days as anything less than a "full-service" shop.
According to Robert Mathias, MD of Ogilvy's DC office, the firm was looking to begin offering lobbying services just as Dutko was looking to expand into communications. The two instead decided to solidify their longstanding relationship, and will now operate as a single unit.
"Rather than us develop a lobbying capacity, which we feel we need to be competitive," said Mathias, "we're saying, 'You guys stick to your core competency, we'll stick to ours, and then we'll partner.'"
As part of the deal, Ogilvy has absorbed Dutko Communications Services (DCS), Dutko's fledgling four-person PR unit. Clients there include The Carpet and Rug Institute, the American Public Works Association, Eckerd Corporations, and Birthright Israel.
Aside from DCS, no equity changed hands in the deal, yet Mathias compared the relationship to Ketchum and its lobbying subsidiary, The Washington Group, and Fleishman-Hillard and its subsidiary, FH/GPC.