There is no bigger challenge in PR than being a publicist for a talent agent (except, possibly, being a publicist for a publicist).
There is no bigger challenge in PR than being a publicist for a
talent agent (except, possibly, being a publicist for a publicist).
It means repping a pro - somebody who himself makes a living by
generating attention for their clients. That is why ambitious Hollywood
publicists are currently scrutinizing the talent agencies, because at
least three of them - International Creative Management, Creative
Artists Agency and Endeavor - are on the lookout for some PR muscle.
The in-house pros at ICM and CAA (Andrea Marozas and Leslie Klotz,
respectively) both departed last week. Marozas moved to become SVP of
communications for Walt Disney Studios, while Klotz moved to New York to
join Polo Ralph Lauren.
While both execs were highly accomplished, their simultaneous departure
has thrown a spotlight on how the big talent agencies handle their
At the same time, several smaller agencies, including Endeavor, have
recognized that they cannot continue to manage PR on an ad-hoc basis and
are looking to hire pros.
Talent agencies don’t need publicists solely to handle day-to-day
inquiries from the media, although even that has become too important to
leave up to the agents. Instead, the agencies are having to engage in
corporate promotion. It involves dealing with new outlets - Bloomberg
and The Wall Street Journal rather than Variety or Vanity Fair. And it
means talking about different topics, such as IPOs and the Internet,
rather than which Picasso hangs on your wall.
In other words, the agencies are finally upgrading. Competition is
growing, especially from management companies. The agency business is
undergoing a lot of consolidation, and those agencies with the best and
most diverse investment portfolios will be the likeliest survivors.
While this sounds like fun for the lucky new PR pros, the downside is
that an agency can be a frustrating beast to represent. Although they
are all meant to be pitching for the same team, agents don’t make good
corporate soldiers. Just like publicists, they are only as strong as
their client lists, which makes self-promotion essential.
Most agents create their own links with the media, links that even
strong-willed publicists find hard to sever.
But given that the publicists will spend more time on strategic issues
in the future, it may not matter. What will matter is the ability to
take a limited, service-oriented business to the next level, and give it
a corporate profile.
It’s a job that demands excellent relationships, endless patience and
the nerve to make the occasional ludicrous request. It is certainly not
for the faint-hearted.