ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: Ketchum's job supporting Russia's role as host of the G8 summit ending July 17 in St. Petersburg was to provide access, not serve as spokesperson for Russia.
That meant giving some 2,500 reporters entrée to Russian officials at the highest levels. "It was very media relations driven," said Ketchum SVP Noam Gelfond, speaking from St. Petersburg.
"Our task was primarily to make sure [Russia] had the resources to reach out to the media and create an opportunity for those reporters to talk to newsmakers, President [Vladimir] Putin ultimately," he said, adding that the firm had about 25 staffers on hand, and 50 worldwide, handling the event.
"Part of our approach was to ensure our clients had the opportunity to choose from those strategies that would be the most effective," Gelfond said. Ketchum helped develop a webcast, and in the final week, there were Op-Eds prepared by the Kremlin for Putin and interviews with major national broadcast networks, including NBC - Today did a live spot from St. Petersburg.
During G8, Gelfond noted, there were approximately a dozen briefings by senior Russian officials, ministers, and deputy ministers, with high-level Kremlin officials granting one-on-one interviews beforehand or afterward.
"Very high-level Kremlin officials made themselves accessible and open," he added. "My sense, anecdotally, was that the media were pleasantly surprised and sincerely appreciative of the access."
Ketchum's contract runs through the end of 2006 and includes sup- port for about 20 G8 meetings.