Ogilvy is appropriating privacy as an issue it wants clients to
know it specializes in (see page 5). It's a canny move, bearing mind the
stink that some companies have gotten themselves into for ignoring
consumers' worries over how their data is being used.
But it also provides further evidence of the way agencies are trying to
ally their brands with various topical causes.
Last month, within the space of two weeks, Hill & Knowlton and Edelman
both unveiled units to handle issues arising from Mad Cow Disease.
Specialist skills in PR have traditionally been associated with
individuals, illustrated by clients shifting accounts to follow certain
Moves like this further the tide of institutionalizing PR agencies'
output, like the introduction of strategic technology systems (see
Given the currently bleak prospect for new business, springing up with
topical know-how is also a particularly fine agency marketing ploy.
But there is a caveat here: don't over-hype the capability. If your
great-sounding new unit is actually two AEs who have taken a crash
course via the Web, you won't have to wait long to be found out.