Mercury Public Affairs launches digital practice

SACRAMENTO, CA: Mercury Public Affairs has launched a digital practice led by former Virgin America corporate communications VP Abby Lunardini.

SACRAMENTO, CA: Mercury Public Affairs has launched a digital practice led by former Virgin America corporate communications VP Abby Lunardini.

Mercury Digital officially launched last month. It has already signed a number of public- and private-sector clients, including Virgin America. The practice offers services in social analytics, digital content creation and campaigns, and crisis management. It will operate across Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and New York.

Mercury recruited Lunardini last October to help partner Adam Mendelsohn start the practice. She previously managed PR for Virgin America for five years.

“We're excited to combine elements of creative PR campaigns along with the crisis communications and issues management capabilities of our public affairs firm,” she said. “We really want to bring the best of both worlds into one offering for our clients. Everything is moving in that direction.”

Besides Lunardini and Mendelsohn, the group also includes digital and social media SVP Jill Fletcher and Melissa Archuleta, VP of digital communications. Prior to this, Fletcher worked with Lunardini at Virgin America, where she served as director of social media. Archuleta previously developed and managed Latino social media channels and strategy for the 2012 Obama reelection campaign.

Mendelsohn, who founded Mercury's Sacramento office in 2007, also worked for the Republican National Convention in 2008, served as deputy chief of staff for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), and led communications strategy for Schwarzenegger's reelection campaign in 2006.

Mercury Digital is in the process of filling two more roles on the team, Mendelsohn said.

“We realized that corporate America needed a lot of the digital and social media infrastructure and abilities that political campaigns have,” Mendelsohn said. “Social media has put everybody in an environment that's similar to a political campaign, where the need to manage issues as quickly as possible becomes important.”

Mercury will also start to focus on reaching Latinos in the digital space, Mendelsohn added.

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