What this man doesn't know about CPR and Duck Tape is simply not
worth knowing. Meet George McQuade, media director of Cerrell Associates
in Los Angeles.
Describe the company you work for Cerrell Associates is the oldest PR
firm in California. The LA office has 33 full-time employees, and is
nestled in the heart of Larchmont Village. Some of the very broadcast
journalists we pitch come to this area because of its famous restaurants
and people who eat there. After eating at the Village Pizzeria, they do
What do you do? I help dozens of clients create a buzz for their
business, or stay out of the line of fire of a November or May sweeps
piece on TV.
It might involve taking a boring annual study released every year and
spinning it into a front-page newspaper article.
Tell us something amusing that happened at work While videotaping a
County Fire Marshal inspection at the Wildlife Way-station (a Cerrell
client), one of the lions decided to mark its territory and gave my new
slacks a shower of love. The Wild-life Waystation got the cleaning
How did you get into PR? I was out of work, freelancing for various news
outlets. One day, I took a part-time job at the largest planning agency
in the US, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG),
working on a brochure and newsletter. Now, at Cerrell almost 10 years
later, one of our clients is the SCAG. The lesson: Never burn
What is your greatest achievement? Rescuing Dr. Scott Goodwin, chief
cardiovascular radiologist at UCLA Medical Center, from his burning
vehicle while I was in my bath robe. I received a hero's award from the
LA City Council, and a Medal of Valor from the California State Fire
Marshall's Association on October 24,1998, on the three-year anniversary
of saving the life of our three-month-old son, James, who choked on
breast milk and stopped crying and breathing. I applied CPR, which I
learned when I was an eight-year-old Boy Scout, and brought him back to
life in one minute.
What is your best stunt? Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks,
we pitched a Manco Brand Duck Tape wedding at Universal Studios.
Sal D'Agostino, the bride's uncle, was one of four New York firefighters
who rescued a woman with a broken leg and escaped the 57th floor of the
He was featured on NBC's Dateline. The couple had considered postponing
the wedding due to concerns about guests and family members flying into
LA from New York. But the courage of the family was bolstered when
D'Agostino called the bride and encouraged the couple to keep September
29 as the wedding date. The event attracted heavy print, radio, and TV
We also hired OnTheScene Productions to shoot a VNR and put it up on the
bird, which eventually exposed the story globally to a tracked and
reported 59 million viewers.