DETROIT: Strat-comm, a DC-based firm with a top-notch transportation practice, is preparing to make a big move into Detroit by essentially taking over Hill & Knowlton's soon-to-be defunct Detroit operation.
The former head of H&K Detroit, Victor Pytko, will lead the new Strat-comm office. In addition, Strat-comm has struck a deal with H&K to assume several of the global giant's local clients (Mazda, the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and Car and Driver magazine) in a subcontract-like situation.
It remains unclear how many H&K Detroit employees will be asked to join Strat-comm. Presumably some type of financial deal is in place that will allow H&K to realize some income from the new arrangement, but Strat-comm officials refused to comment about the firm's plans.
Although Pytko is well known in Detroit PR circles, the market has proved a difficult one for H&K to crack. While the office has worked with at least one major auto parts supplier (Delphi Automotive), others have chosen to hand their business to local firms with more specialized experience.
Several multinational agencies have tried to make headway in the Detroit supplier market, but only Shandwick has enjoyed a degree of success.
Strat-comm, which has done work for General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, certainly has the know-how to become a major player in Detroit. The firm garnered a coveted placement on the front page of USA Today last year for its campaign promoting the American Highway Users Alliance's study on the worst spots for highway traffic congestion.