Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Wednesday morning

Omnicom's DDB wins U.S. Army's ad account; Facebook's Elliot Schrage takes blame for hiring Definers Public Affairs; Zuckerberg will not step down as Facebook chairman; Bob Corker mocks White House as "PR firm" for Saudi crown prince.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Omnicom’s DDB has landed the U.S. Army’s 10-year, $4 billion ad account, displacing incumbent McCann Worldgroup, the Department of Defense confirmed on Tuesday evening. WPP was reportedly the other finalist in the pitch. OMD will handle the media portion of the business. The business had been with IPG for 12 years and involved many firms beyond McCann creative, including Weber Shandwick.

Maybe Facebook won’t have to fire anyone after all. Elliot Schrage, Facebook's outgoing head of comms and public policy, has taken the blame for hiring Definers Public Affairs, according to an internal memo reported by TechCrunch. Schrage said his team asked Definers to push negative narratives about Facebook's competitors. He denied, however, that the company asked the PR firm to distribute or create fake news. He also admitted in the memo that Facebook asked Definers to conduct research on liberal financier George Soros.

More skeletons might emerge from Facebook’s closet. Schrage said in the memo that his replacement, former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister and ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, will review Facebook’s work with all political consultants and propose better management processes.

In other Facebook news, Mark Zuckerberg told CNN he will not step down as chairman of the board. "I'm not currently thinking that that makes sense," Zuckerberg told CNN.Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg was also praised by Zuckerberg in the same interview. Sandberg responded to Schrage’s memo, explaining that she oversees Facebook's comms team and took "full responsibility for their work and the PR firms who work with us," according to TechCrunch.

The White House has been mocked as being a "PR firm" for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday night retweeted President Donald Trump’s statement questioning whether the crown prince was responsible for the death of U.S.-based dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, adding the comment, "I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia." 

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