KINGSTON, NY: The current cultural infatuation with religious and spiritual issues has led to the rebirth of one boutique PR firm.
In the wake of the media attention over Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, as well as political controversies like gay marriage, Gerry Harrington has rebranded his boutique shop Harrington Associates as New Spirituality Communications. The firm's first client is author Neale Donald Walsch, whose latest book, Tomorrow's God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge, was just released.
Harrington, a former CNN executive producer, created his firm in 1988 with a general-interest focus and a roster that ranged from biotech to arts clients. "An internal urge and marketplace trend" led him to narrow its focus and change the name, he said.
"This trend really appealed to me," he said. "If I had a choice of talking about thermostats - I once had a client who made them - or talking about issues of life and God, I'd much rather deal with that. I believe this is going to evolve very quickly into a legitimate and lucrative field."
To be sure, religious-oriented PR shops are not new, as the publicity effort surrounding Gibson's film demonstrated. But Harrington's shop may be the first to jump into the sector following the film's release.
Harrington spent several months researching the change after first pondering it in December. He adds that the recent success of The Passion was a contributing, but not deciding factor.