NEW YORK: The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) has hired GolinHarris to provide PR support for the advertising industry.
Kipp Cheng, VP and director of public affairs for the 4As, said Golin was brought on not to promote the organization specifically, but the advertising industry and its members at large.
"There are great agencies out there, trends, an undiscovered guru everybody within the industry knows about," but the general public might not, Cheng explained.
Fred Cook, president and CEO of New York-based Golin, said the firm's efforts are "just getting started." The account is being led by New York MD Jennifer Cohan.
The ad world is currently dealing with issues around the lack of diversity within its ranks.
The issue came to the fore two weeks ago when, under pressure from New York City's Commission on Human Rights, several major ad firms pledged to work with the organization to boost diversity efforts. Hearings scheduled to be held by the NYC Human Rights Commission were canceled after the pledges. But a second set of hearings, organized by New York City Council member Larry Seabrook, during last week's Advertising Week, was besot with no-shows, prolonging the controversy.
To address issues of diversity, Cheng said, the 4As has tapped a second PR firm to assist on a project basis. While sources point to New York-based MGP & Associates PR, headed by Mike Paul, neither Cheng nor Paul would confirm.
Cheng added, however, that the focuses of the 4As' diversity efforts go beyond crisis control. Instead, they're meant to encourage industrywide discussion and unprecedented action.
"The [advertising] industry sort of takes a beating," Cheng noted. "If it deserves to, it deserves to... But this is an opportunity to convey the other side of the message."