Seven PR stories that left their mark in 2014

A list of seven stories that moved the needle within the PR industry in 2014.

Publicis CEO Maurice Levy and Omnicom chief executive John Wren at the deal's announcement last July
Publicis CEO Maurice Levy and Omnicom chief executive John Wren at the deal's announcement last July

From a failed mega-merger to a new face behind the podium in the White House press briefing room, here are seven events that made a footprint in the PR industry in 2014.

The Publicis-Omnicom merger falls apart
Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group called off in May what would have been the biggest deal in marketing history, a $35 billion combination that would have made the resulting Publicis-Omnicom Group the largest holding company in the world.

PR software rivals come together
Former competitors Vocus and Cision officially combined in October, brought together by private equity firm GTCR Valor Merger Sub, ultimately taking the Cision brand. The merged company also went on a buying spree, announcing plans to acquire Visible Technologies in September and striking a deal to buy Gorkana Group the following month. At the helm of the growing company is former CEO of the "old Cision," Peter Granat.

Josh Earnest takes over from Jay Carney in the White House briefing room
Former deputy press secretary Josh Earnest succeeded his former boss, Jay Carney, as White House press secretary in June after Carney spent three years in the Obama administration’s top media-facing role. Earnest didn’t back down from reporters on his first day on the job and occasionally showed off his lighter side, donning a San Francisco Giants hat after losing a friendly World Series bet.

FIFA’s ‘mission impossible’ World Cup account
International soccer body FIFA asked at least five global PR agencies to pitch for an account reassuring fans and sponsors about the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar, respectively. One source with knowledge of the work described it as "mission impossible." A few of the invited agencies declined to pitch. However, within weeks, FIFA appointed Weber Shandwick to manage comms for the 2018 event in Russia.

Wikipedia lays out the rules for PR agencies
Crowdsourced online encyclopedia Wikipedia issued a compliance framework in June after a months-long dispute between parent organization the Wikimedia Foundation and Wiki-PR, a firm whose primary service is editing Wikipedia pages. Put simply: the guidelines said firms should follow Wikipedia’s terms and guidelines and commit to better understanding its principles. A number of agencies signed on to the framework just after it was drafted.

Next Fifteen gives Text100 a bigger Bite
Parent company Next Fifteen began to merge the Asia-Pacific and mainland Europe operations of tech-focused agency Bite into Text100 in August. Bite is continuing to operate in the US and UK with a focus on content, analytics, and technology development for CMOs.

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