Consumers Union plays up positives in Consumerist acquisition

YONKERS, NY: Consumers Union is emphasizing that it will not change the editorial style of the shopper-advocacy blog The Consumerist after acquiring it from Gawker Media December 31.

YONKERS, NY: Consumers Union is emphasizing that it will not change the editorial style of the shopper-advocacy blog The Consumerist after acquiring it from Gawker Media December 31. As the publisher of Consumer Reports, the company's media outreach is also drawing attention to the similarities between the organizations.

 

“Consumerist has a very distinct voice, but if you go back through the history of Consumer Reports, we have, for decades, been a thorn in the side of companies, products, and services that we thought were not serving consumers well,” said Ken Weine, VP of communications at Consumer Union. “So we share the same spirit, albeit with a different voice.”

 

The nonprofit publisher is also stressing that the sometimes-irreverent Consumerist will allow it to reach a younger audience, and that the group is growing with the acquisition, rather than cutting back like many media outlets.

 

“This is a very tough environment for the media community, so a story where we are growing Consumer Reports and the Consumers Union brand… and having [Consumerist editor Ben Popken] say that the site is now assured a strong and healthy future is, of course, welcome in this environment,” Weine said.

 

The Consumer Union's internal staff is working with Attention PR and the Rosen Group on the media outreach effort to explain the acquisition.

 

Attention PR, Consumer Union's digital PR agency, pitched online media outlets with the news after The New York Times broke the story of the acquisition on December 30, said Curtis Hougland, founder of Attention PR. The agency also posted the story to the Facebook business page, published links to it on Twitter, and pitched consumer advocacy and media blogs and other Facebook groups, he added.  

 

“Most of the emphasis has been on Twitter and blog outreach, and part of the Facebook outreach includes contacting groups with which we have a relationship,” he explained.

 

The Rosen Group conducted outreach focused on media and technology trade publications and business titles, added agency president Lori Rosen.

 

The size of the acquisition and the PR budget are undisclosed.

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