QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: George McQuade

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

man-on-the-street interviews.



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

bill.



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

bridges.



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

Twin Towers.



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

coverage.



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.



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