GREENVILLE, SC: Full-service marketing firm Erwin Penland is moving into advertising agency Hill Holliday's New York City office and expanding its PR efforts.
The two Interpublic Group agencies have been partners for seven years and the objective behind coming together in NYC is to become stronger and offer more resources to future clients, said Joe Erwin, co-founder and president of Erwin Penland.
The agency also plans to expand its PR practice, which was created in 1995, Erwin added. Between its Greenville, SC and New York offices, the PR department headed by Barry Finkelstein numbers 12 people.
“We want to make sure we have every tool our brands need us for,” Erwin explained, “and if PR is one of those things, then we have to have a strong PR practice.”
Erwin added that having a PR presence in NYC makes sense because it's the “media capital of the world,” and it will give the agency more opportunities to connect with big brands. The firm currently handles PR for Denny's, Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, Hanes' Barely There brand, and Lennar Homes.
Under the office merger, Erwin will oversee operations in both Greenville and NY and will continue to report to Karen Kaplan, president of Hill Holliday. Allen Bosworth, former director of client services and co-principal at Erwin Penland, has been named COO of the agency, a newly created position. Finkelstein will continue in his role as VP and director of PR, splitting his time between the two offices.
In addition to offering brands more opportunities, Erwin Penland is increasing its PR work because “integration and collaboration of tools is critical” for a company's success, Erwin said.
“Anytime we're looking at developing a new campaign for a client or a major new initiative or we're pitching an account, PR is always front and center, along with digital, advertising and social media,” he explained. “These days, you just can't leave any one of them out and there's such richness to what you can do if you understand the power of PR.”
IPG's major PR firms, which include Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, and Carmichael Lynch Spong, sit within the network's Constituency Management Group division.