Book of Lists 2008

Though 2008 was dominated by a groundbreaking presidential election, there was still plenty of other news. PRWeek's editorial team reviews the year's PR hits and misses.

Book of Lists 2008

Though 2008 was dominated by a groundbreaking presidential election, there was still plenty of other news. PRWeek's editorial team reviews the year's PR hits and misses

10 Lasting memories of the 2008  presidential election season

1. McCain's song parody bombs

John McCain learns the power of YouTube when a video of him at a small gathering singing “bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann spreads like wildfire.

2. Hillary has a heart
In a rare display of emotion, Hillary Clinton sheds a tear during a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire. She ends up surprising everyone by winning the primary.

3. Secret handshake
Fox News anchor E.D. Hill labels a supportive fist bump between Barack and Michelle Obama a “terrorist fist jab.”

4. Obama takes a stand against racism
Obama addresses the criticized racially tinged remarks of his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright by giving a speech on race.

5. Edwards' dirty little secret
The National Enquirer breaks the news that former presidential candidate John Edwards had an extramarital affair. Edwards calls a contrite press conference, but reminds everyone that he didn't cheat until after his wife was in remission from cancer.

6. Ich bein ein berliner, part deux?
Barack Obama draws an estimated crowd of more than 200,000 in Berlin for a speech in July.

7. Say it ain't so
Obama and McCain reference “Joe the Plumber” 26 times during a debate; a star is born.

8. Celebrity un-endorsement
McCain seizes upon Obama's Berlin speech and unveils an ad campaign that compares his Democratic opponent to Paris Hilton, labeling him as a celebrity unfit to lead.

9. Seeing double
Days before the election, Sarah Palin appears in the same sketch as doppelganger Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live, poking fun at the show's caricature of her.

10. Puppy love
President-elect Obama promises his daughters a puppy during his acceptance speech. An interested media, and world, suggest their favorite breeds in anticipation of the pooch's arrival.

10 Business developments that caused a stir

1 AIG gets multiple bailouts

The business pages were filled with stories about AIG getting billions from the government to prevent a collapse, even while the company paid for a luxury corporate retreat. By year's end, the insurer announced a $1 salary for its CEO and no pay raises in 2009 for top execs, though some received “retention” payouts.

2 Lehman Brothers folds
Refused government aid, 158-year-old Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in one of Wall Street's most shocking downfalls.

3 Bear Stearns shutters
An omen of awful things to come, Bear Stearns crashed and burned at $2 a share, the purchase price for JPMorgan Chase in March 2008.

4 Bank buyouts
In a deal that came together over a weekend, Bank of America acquired investment banking powerhouse Merrill Lynch. Shortly after, JPMorgan Chase acquired Washington Mutual (with help from the FDIC) and Wells Fargo won its battle with Citigroup to acquire Wachovia.

5 Citigroup nearly collapses
Citigroup stock slipped below $4 on November 21. The government agreed to back more than $300 billion in Citigroup loans and securities and give the bank a $20-billion direct investment. Crisis averted (temporarily at least); Citigroup stock bounced back to more than $6.

6 Microsoft and Yahoo (finally) end talks
After months of back and forth and unaccepted offers, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer announced to stockholders in November that the company was no longer interested in Yahoo.

7 Layoffs galore
The US unemployment rate soared to 6.7% in November, a 34-year high. Every industry was touched as thousands of layoffs were announced at companies across the country.

8 Fannie and Freddie fail
Both mortgage giants were placed in conservatorship after nearly falling prey to the subprime mortgage crisis. At the time, the two groups guaranteed about $6 trillion in outstanding mortgage debt.

9 Morgan, Goldman, and Amex become bank holding companies
We won't see drive-thru ATMs from these three any time soon, but the switch to bank holding companies shows the vast changes occurring on Wall Street. In the case of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the greater government oversight portends the end of Wall Street investment banking as we have come to know it.

10 Retail tanks
The sorry state of the economy put the kibosh on the usual end-of-year shopping season, as sales fell in both October and November. Additionally, retailers like Mervyn's, Circuit City, and Steve & Barry's were all forced into bankruptcy.

5 Terms we never heard before '08

1 Tweet

While Twitter has been around in some form since 2006, companies, communicators, journalists, and others with 140 characters on their minds began logging in to Twitter en masse in 2008 to “microblog” their thoughts and observations.

2 Hockey moms
We've had soccer moms and security moms. This election cycle, we had hockey moms, another nebulous characterization of a certain segment of “average” American moms brought to us by Alaska governor and lead hockey mom, Sarah Palin.

3 Prop 8
Short for Proposition 8, the amendment banning same-sex marriage went to the people of California on November 4. It continued to fuel nationwide debate for and against the issue, now reaching the Supreme Court after passing with 52% of the vote.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) became every-one's biggest hope for managing – and ultimately stopping – the US economy's free fall. With at least $700 billion at its disposal, the organization is working to create liquidity and stability on Wall Street, but many unknowns remain.

5 Credit-default swap
According to Bloomberg, “credit-default swaps are financial instruments based on bonds and loans that are used to speculate on the ability of borrowers to repay debt.” In other words, they're one more bewildering investment tool that led to the current poor state of the economy.

5 Terms we never want to hear again

1 Maverick
The repeated use of the word by both Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and his running mate, Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin, turned a campaign signifier into a running catchphrase for Saturday Night Live's cast.

2 Bailout
With Wall Street near ruin, everyone turned to the government to take action. But calling its intervention on behalf of financial services companies a “bailout” angered numerous taxpayers, who would like to see their dollars used to help themselves out of financial trouble as well.

3 Joe the Plumber
The bald pate of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, became the symbol for the hard-working, average American man. Brought up more than 25 times during the final presidential debate and catapulted to media superstardom, Joe's upcoming book, Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream, unfortunately means his 15 minutes aren't quite up just yet.

4 Brangelina
Despite becoming an item while making the long-forgotten Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a movie released way back in 2005, the media is still talking about the Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt/Jennifer Aniston love triangle. Can someone else please hook up in a wave of juicy scandal so we can finally move on?

5 Rickrolling
The first time we were fooled into hearing Never Gonna Give You Up, it was funny. But when it makes its way to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it's time to retire this phrase and the wacky Web antics behind it. 

5 Brands that hit the heights

1 Twitter

The microblogging tool hit its stride this year, expanding its user base to journalists, companies, and politicians. Any brand that inspires a new form of a verb has made it.

2 Disney
Even in challenging economic times, the Disney magic holds strong, with High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Wall-E, and Jonas Brothers fever.

3 Google
This now indispensable search engine had quite a year, whether in making its foray into healthcare with Google Health, to launching its own open-source browser, Google Chrome, it remained busy. Other additions, like its Android smartphone, prove the company won't remain a one-note business.

4 Toyota
The automaker's reputation is soaring, due in part to its small- to midsized, fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as a year of consumer campaigns, like online games for black women.

5 McDonald's
The company differentiated itself from the pack during the Olympics with a spate of movie tie-ins. Also, its Dollar Menu continued to attract interest during the recession.

5 Brands that hit the skids

1 Eliot Spitzer
Once the poster child for Democratic morals, the New York governor fell from grace – and office – in March when his use of a prostitution ring came to light.

2 GM
The largest US automaker had difficulty making its case to the government and American people. While it had sought to restructure and draw attention to product innovations, GM's troubles remained front-page news.

3 Yahoo
The inability of then-CEO Jerry Yang to hammer out a deal with Microsoft has created questions as to the search engine's viability in an increasingly tight marketplace.

4 Delta
After emerging from bankruptcy in 2007, the airline has continued to face challenges, particularly when the company had to communicate new fees to travelers. 

5 Starbucks
Latte land was on edge in 2008, as the company announced operational cutbacks and profit drops. Convincing consumers that they need a pricey, caffeinated drink is going to be a challenge in 2009.

10 PR stunts that would make PT Barnum proud

1 Pringles can coffin

Dr. Frederic Baur, who called the Pringles tube his most significant invention, was cremated and laid to rest in his signature tube in June.

2 Self promoter for hire
When MIT graduate Joshua Persky couldn't find a job, he hit the street – literally. Wearing a sandwich board with his e-mail address and phone number, he passed out resumes on a New York City street corner.

3 Caffeine buzz
Starbucks provided a free cup of coffee upon voters' requests on Election Day, generating strong buzz. This was despite having to tweak its original plan due to the legal implications of providing a reward for voting. 

4 American crop
Swanson Russell Associates went all out to welcome American Idol auditions to its home city of Omaha, NE. The five-acre corn crop circle with AI's logo guaranteed the city – and agency – its 15 seconds of fame.

5 Failed magic
David Blaine's plan to hang upside down in New York City's Central Park for 60 hours in September was supposed be one of his most difficult stunts of all time. Criticism ran rampant when he was found taking breaks during portions of the feat.

6 Viral marketing gets violent
A viral marketing campaign for an album by Ashanti featured a personalized fake news clip about a woman who went on a killing spree after she found out her boyfriend was cheating, all inspired by Ashanti's music video. The site was eventually pulled down.

7 Cotton field in NYC
Luxury cotton brand Supima infused farming into New York City when it planted a cotton field in the SoHo area to promote Supima's designer collaboration pop-up store.

8 LG pulls a fast one
LG built a campaign around the launch for a TV series called Scarlet, complete with a live actress, red carpet, advertising, and, finally, an invite to a “TV show premiere.” Little did attendees know, the “show premiere” was only a showcase of its new red back panel TVs.

9 Risqué virgins
Virgin Mobile launched “Strip2Clothe,” encouraging people to post videos of themselves undressing to give the clothes literally off their back to homeless youth. For each video and every five views, Virgin donated an article of clothing to a nonprofit. However, criticism ensued as groups complained it was too risqué for its youth market.

10 The heat is on
Uniqlo is popular in its native Japan, but to boost brand awareness in the US, it handed out free Heat Tech clothing via a human vending machine, complete with men in silver bodysuits in Times Square. Note for next year – anything that involves silver bodysuits makes this list.

5 Companies that get social media

1 Zappos

The online shoe store has taken a wise, targeted approach to social media. Rather than jumping on all social media sites, the CEO has admitted Facebook and MySpace are less effective. Instead, the store uses Twitter (where it has more than 25,000 followers), blogs, and video to share its culture in a way that doesn't seem contrived.   

2 Southwest Airlines
Enthusiastic employees make for great social media fodder. The airline carrier – often known for its passionate staff – has learned this lesson firsthand. Southwest uses social media for everything from recruiting and focus groups to broadcasting its infamous low fares. 

3 Dell
The company has come a long way from the days of Jeff Jarvis' infamous Dell Hell. Now, even Jarvis has commended the company for getting social media right. Last year's IdeaStorm was widely successful. This year's Digital Nomads site doesn't outright market, but simply associates Dell with the nomadic lifestyle.

4 Comcast
Comcast ventured into social media after several customers voiced their dissatisfaction with the company. It has since decided to use social media to salvage its low customer-satisfaction ranking. So far, so good. Comcast Cares' Twitter feed has set a solid example of using the site to bring real value to customers.

5 H&R Block
The company proves that social media isn't just for hip consumer or tech companies. The tax services firm cleverly engaged users during tax season. It's had a few misses, but has continued to grow its presence online with blogs, YouTube, and social networks.

5 Companies behind the social media curve

1 ExxonMobil

The Twittersphere embraced the oil company's supposed foray into social media. The problem was, “Janet” – who was posting as an Exxon employee – was actually a fake. Exxon missed a social media opportunity because it had engaged followers, but then closed the Twitter account without launching a legitimate one.

2 Target
By now, companies and organizations should have learned their lesson– don't ignore bloggers. Target created a firestorm earlier this year when it brushed aside a blogger's inquiry because of the company's policy of not dealing with “nontraditional media.” The retailer has since reconsidered its policy, but for some, it was too late.

The FDA has yet to fight back against, a fake blog launched by disgruntled former staffers. It is understood that the FDA has to deal with certain regulations, but the organization is letting its naysayers control the conversation.

4 Sears
The iconic brand botched its attempts at creating an online community when it came to light that joining “My SHC Community” installs spyware that monitors users' Web habits. The company's Facebook page hasn't worked much better; dissatisfied joiners mostly fill its wall comments.

5 Johnson & Johnson
Between an unfunny and, to some, offensive “Motrin Mom” ad that set Twitter afire, and a Camp Baby event for mommy bloggers that didn't allow children, J&J really floundered in its outreach toward this influential Web demographic.

10 People with the toughest jobs in PR

1. Steve Harris, VP of global comms, General Motors
Bailout rejection aside, GM got its share of flak when CEO Rick Wagoner took a private jet to DC to ask for $25 billion in federal aid. Whatever changes lay ahead for the Big Three in 2009, Harris will have his hands full.

2. Judy Leon, acting assoc. commissioner of public affairs, FDA
Leon took the role in October  after a tough year for the FDA.

3. Nicholas Ashooh, SVP of communications, AIG
A government bailout was followed by a luxury retreat for execs and reports of hunting trips and resort stays after it got a multibillion-dollar government loan.

4. Adele Ambrose, VP and chief communications officer, Merck
While all pharma companies face slowing pipelines and changes from the policy and regulatory sides, Merck still deals with the fallout from Vioxx and Gardasil.

5. Catherine Mathis, SVP of corporate comms, The New York Times Company
The Times had to deal with news about bringing in new investors, folding its Metro section, and more than one person who decided to scale the company's New York City headquarters.

6. Jill Nash, CCO, Yahoo
The back and forth between Yahoo and Microsoft merger talks continued in 2008, but went nowhere. In November, founder Jerry Yang said he'd step down.

7. M. Russell Ballard and Quentin Cook, elders who oversee public affairs, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The church sought to distance it-self from Texas' polygamous sect after federal agents seized 400 kids from a compound. Months later, it found itself defending its role in the passing of Proposition 8.

8. Patti McTeague, SVP of kids' comms, Disney-ABC TV Group
Fans of Miley Cyrus accepted her apology for racy photos. Yet, the Vanity Fair shoot where it appeared she was topless ended in a statement of embarrassment.

9. Marianne Amssoms, VP of global external communications, Anheuser-Busch InBev
When Belgian company InBev bought Anheuser-Busch and its iconic Budweiser brand, it faced a public battle. Now it has to tackle layoffs, integration issues, and learning “the American way.”

10. Roger Frizzell, VP of advertising and corporate comms, American Airlines
It faced cuts in its fleet and workforce to deal with rising costs – just months after grounding 2,500 flights in April that didn't meet government inspection standards.

5 Political quotes that hit the mark

1. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible... tonight is your answer.”
Barack Obama in his acceptance speech on election night.

2. “I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage.”
Colin Powell, endorsing Barack Obama for president on NBC's Meet The Press.
3. “You know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is? Lipstick.”
Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) making her debut for most Americans at the Republican National Convention.

4. “You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.”
Hillary Clinton quoting former New York governor Mario Cuomo on the campaign trail.

5. “I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
President Bush explaining why he stopped playing the sport.

5 Political quotes that caused a double take

1. “The country is groaning and moaning and screaming for change.”
Bill Clinton, getting a little too explicit in explaining the need for a new administration.

2. “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.”
John McCain on September 15, what has now come to be known as Black Monday.

3. “It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.”
Sarah Palin, trying to validate her foreign policy experience in an interview with Katie Couric.

4. “A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States – Barack America!”
Sen. Joe Biden introducing his running mate.

5. “They cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Barack Obama comments on small-town Pennsylvanians during Democratic primary season.

5 Successfully marketed movies

1. The Dark Knight
After Heath Ledger's unexpected death, Warner Bros. continued with the film's marketing, focusing on his Joker character. Fans flocked to theaters and saw one of Ledger's best performances.

2. Cloverfield
Sparse details put the marketing in the less-is-more category. But it all built buzz for JJ Abrams' project, which earned more than $46 million in its first weekend.

3. Sex and the City
By positioning the film as the place for a “girls' night out” and pulling on the heartstrings of the show's fans, ladies showed up in droves.

4. High School Musical 3: Senior Year
The HSM crowd got the big- screen treatment, after two versions on the small screen. Disney's full-force marketing followed suit.

5. Twilight
Who knew vampires were so hot? Production company Summit Entertainment promoted the young stars and the romance in the storyline. The sequel was announced the day after the film's release. 

5 Underwhelmingly marketed movies

1. My Best Friend's Girl
Marketing woes were obvious when one of its stars, comedian Dane Cook, posted a widely circulated blog about his dissatisfaction with the film's promotion.

2. The Rocker
Despite having The Office's Rainn Wilson as its star and a plot based around rock ‘n' roll, the marketing simply didn't, well, rock.

3. Zach and Miri Make a Porno
With a poster that wasn't permitted in the US and a title that drew the ire of many parents, Kevin Smith's film didn't get the marketing plan it had hoped for.

4. Kit Kittredge, An American Girl
The marketing for the film didn't live up to the actors in it, including an Oscar-nominated 12-year-old lead actress, Abigail Breslin. Maybe the part about the “early years of the Great Depression” hit a little too close to home.

5. Incredible Hulk
There were indeed previews for the Edward Norton version of this comic book classic, but the marketing for the DVD release seemed more prevalent than that for the theater version.

10 Product debuts you couldn't miss

1. Summer Olympics
With constant talk of boycotts, air quality concerns, and whether Beijing had truly gotten its act together, the whole world waited eagerly for 8/8/08. And the Games did not disappoint.

2. Grand Theft Auto IV
This video game featuring gangland killings and automotive theft broke launch records by selling 6 million copies in its first week, following a low-key PR ramp-up.

3. iPhone 3G
The buzz leading up to the launch of this multimedia smartphone was unprecedented. However, the very quality that captured consumers' interest in the item has also connected to a series of complaints about the inconsistent network coverage, as well as a number of lawsuits.

4. Chevy Volt
General Motors unveiled the production model of this electric car at its 100th anniversary celebration. The company tied in the product innovation of the Volt with the future of the company.

5. Speedo's LZR racer suits
This suit made such a splash on the 2008 Olympic swim circuit, swimmers with competing brand sponsorships still wore the suit in competition.

6. Wii Fit
As if bowling and Mario Kart weren't enough exercise, Nintendo took a step to getting rid of the nation's couch potatoes with the introduction of this game and accompanying body balance board.

7. Glowelle
The packaged food company Nestlé took its initial steps into the beauty business this year, after launching this skincare supplement, which is sold over the counter at high-end department stores.

8. Planet Green
The long-anticipated network from Discovery made its debut in the early summer with 250 hours of original lifestyle programming.

9. Ford Flex
Ford showed off the luxury qualities of its brand by creating events at art galleries, high-profile restaurants, and nightclubs for creative professionals, like chefs and television producers, across the country.

10. Blackberry Storm
RIM's answer to the iPhone, this touch-screen PDA sold by Verizon generated a huge amount of buzz even before its much-delayed launch in November.

5 Communicators we listened to

1. President-elect Barack Obama
One can easily argue that the 2008 presidential election was not won by ideology, policy, or get-out-the-vote efforts nearly as much as by Obama's oratory skills. Those talents were on display time and again, whether he was discussing his mixed race heritage or taking the stage in Denver to accept
his party's nomination.

2. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka
Trumka made an impassioned plea to union members to not let racism factor into their decision on who to vote for in the presidential election. While not a communicator by trade, he displayed skill in his speeches.

3. Jon Stewart
When The Daily Show host talks, people listen. Never mind that his show is supposed to be a satirical look at the world of media and politics. When Stewart took to the stage in Denver around the DNC and lectured the media on its political reporting, the media actually covered it. Now that's true talent.

4. Sheila Blair, FDIC chairman
In the wake of the year's financial meltdown, Blair took to the media to reassure consumers that their money was safe in the bank as long as it was within FDIC limits. Amid chaos, she was able to come across as a calming figure.

5. Sugule Ali, pirate spokesman
Sure, they plunder and pillage, but pirates got just a bit more refined when a group of Somali pirates who had just hijacked a Ukrainian freight ship were featured in a New York Times article with Ali as their spokesperson. This is a lesson to anyone who questions the value of media relations during a crisis.

5 Communicators that missed the mark

1. Gov. Sarah Palin
Snatched from the governor's mansion in Juneau, AK, with little foreign or domestic policy experience, Palin stormed onto the national political scene at
the Republican National Convention like a helicopter chasing a wolf. Yet Palin seemed clueless about foreign policy. And while her debate performance against Joe Biden scored high marks for folksiness, she received low grades when it came to actually answering questions.

2. Vice President-elect Joe Biden
Biden was selected to bring experience to President-elect Barack Obama's Democratic ticket, not for his disciplined messaging skills. It showed when he implied that Hillary Clinton would have made a better No. 2 than him and when he alluded to Obama's inexperience by warning that a grave international incident would happen quickly upon his inauguration.

3. Neel Kashkari
Little known before the economic crisis, federal bailout oversight chief Kashkari didn't seem to get that most Americans felt a lack of oversight was a problem that led to economic uncertainty. In a press conference last month, he took only a few questions, and the markets fell soon after.

4. Henry Paulson
In the middle of the worst economic crisis the country has seen since the Great Depression, the Treasury secretary did little to give any indication that he knew how to handle the situation.

5. Hillary Clinton
A year ago she was considered a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. Whether her own fault or that of chief strategist Mark Penn, she erred by making her message all about experience, thus alienating those who were instead looking for change. 

5 Booming media brands

1 The Huffington Post
This news aggregator has come a long way since it was labeled as “the liberal Drudge Report” around its 2005 launch. The site expanded coverage in 2008 with the launch of a Chicago local site and green section on its main page.

2 The Politico
When the newspaper launched last January, many wondered if it would stand a chance against old print and broadcast stalwarts. Those questions – after it drove much of the 2008 election narrative – are now moot.

Few media brands understand the power of consumers in the on-demand age better than this site. It features an online debate room, “Suggest a Story” feature, and its editor regularly Tweets.

4 The Atlantic
The Atlantic greatly expanded the scope of its Web site, which features prominent bloggers, such as Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder, in 2008. The magazine also redesigned its print edition, adding a fresh new feel.

5 D: All Things Digital
Founders Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher are two of the major reasons for the success of D: All Things Digital, The Wall Street Journal-sanctioned Web site that is the Silicon Valley's daily must-read. The brand also maintains a presence at live events. 

5 Beleaguered media brands

1 Tribune Co.  
Owner Sam Zell's expletive-laced antics and zany staff-wide memos are only a part of the Tribune Co.'s bad public image. Now that it has filed for bankruptcy, it will have to work that much harder to turn its reputation around.

2 The New York Times
After Tribune filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, media watchers wondered if The New York Times was next. The same week as Tribune's disclosure, the Times talked about some financial problems of its own. The paper said it would borrow up to $225 million against its Manhattan headquarters.

3 Time Inc.
Although the media brands that are issuing pink slips and buyout offers to employees are far too numerous to list here, Time Inc. had one of the biggest 2008 bloodlettings, announcing the cut of about 600 positions and the folding of some publications completely.

4 The Associated Press
The Associated Press' reported 10% cut of its total workforce is only one concern on the organization's plate. The AP is seeing its clout as one of the most respected media organizations flounder as more newspapers and chains pull out of their agreements for financial reasons.

5 US News & World Report
Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman's magazine only plans to print monthly, after downgrading to a twice-monthly schedule earlier this year. The magazine is looking for its footing as it struggles to find a niche not covered by Newsweek, Time, and other politically charged competitors.

10 Staff moves that made the news

1 Lake departs Burson
A former chairman of public affairs at the firm, James Lake left Burson-Marsteller to become a partner and president at Gibraltar Associates in Washington.

2 Susman shifts to Pfizer
Once the EVP for global communications at The Estée Lauder Companies, Sally Susman was named SVP and chief communications officer for the drugmaker.

3 Donovan leaves HP
HP's former director of corporate media relations, Ryan Donovan left to handle internal and external communications for SanDisk.

4 Hunt steps down from Cohn & Wolfe
Only a few months after Cohn & Wolfe and GCI Group announced their merger, Jeff Hunt said he would step down as president, but would continue to advise clients.

5 McGinnis joins Enfatico
Kelly McGinnis exited from partner and GM positions at Fleishman-Hillard to join WPP's Dell-inspired Da Vinci project – now called Enfatico – as the global head of PR.

6 Harrington rises to the top at Edelman
After 18 years with the firm, Matthew Harrington was named president and CEO for Edelman US.

7 Mattia retires from Coca-Cola
Tom Mattia, SVP of worldwide public affairs and communications, said he would retire from the soft-drink company in early '09.

8 Gibbs gets White House press secretary gig
Lauded as the mind behind Obama's campaign communications, Robert Gibbs was named White House press secretary.

9 Flaherty moves up at Ketchum
Rob Flaherty was named president of Ketchum, filling a position that was empty since 2000.

10 Schrage trades in Google
Elliot Schrage left his VP of global communications and public affairs position at Google to become Facebook's VP of communications and public policy.

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