Marcomms pros: Cambridge Analytica will launch under new brand

Twittersphere cynical about data firm's decision to shut its doors after media siege.

The data analytics and strategic comms shop shuttered on Wednesday.
The data analytics and strategic comms shop shuttered on Wednesday.

LONDON: Cambridge Analytica’s shut down following months of controversy provoked skeptical reactions  on social media from comms and marketing pros.

Most said they believed the data firm would merely relaunch under a different brand.

Other Twitter users resurfaced earlier reports that many of the data analytics company’s key players, such as former CEO Alexander Nix and financiers Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, have already formed a new company called Emerdata.

However, Gizmodo reports the chair of the firm’s parent company, SCL Group, said a rebranding would be "futile," citing internal documentation.

Cambridge Analytica said it was closing because of insolvency issues, pinning the blame on the "siege of media coverage" as clients reportedly fled the company and onerous legal fees piled up.

The data firm is accused of improperly obtaining and misusing Facebook data of 87 million Americans, information it used for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election.

But the company continued to defend its practices and said in a statement: "Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas."

Cambridge Analytica retained Clarence Mitchell, a former director at public affairs shop JBP. He was also a former BBC royal correspondent and spokesperson for the family of missing child Madeleine McCann. Its previous PR support, North 6th Agency, cut ties with the company shortly after the Facebook revelations.

The Twitter verdict

Deirdre Latour, GE’s former comms chief

Mordicai Knode, marketing manager at Tor.com Publishing, a MacMillan Company

Christopher Zullo, owner of PinPoint WebSolutions

David Carroll, associate professor of media design at Parsons School of Design at The New School

Eric Schmeltzer, former press secretary for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign

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