SAN FRANCISCO: Mercury Public Affairs has opened a San Francisco office led by MD Jennifer Wlach.
The firm wants to bridge the gulf between Silicon Valley and Washington, DC, with its offerings in public affairs, crisis, thought leadership and media relations, Wlach said.
"I bring that strength [after] working intimately with the Washington team for years," she said. "If clients face that kind of issue, that’s where we come in and say, ‘Here’s what we see, and here’s how we can help you.’"
Wlach will be the only Mercury staffer on the ground in San Francisco, based in an Omnicom Group office that houses sister PR and creative agencies. She declined to name specific clients serviced by the office, but said the location will work with companies in fintech, the sharing economy, healthcare and biotech.
Wlach said conversations about opening a San Francisco office started in late 2017 and continued last year. Mercury decided it needed to have an on-the-ground presence in the Bay Area because its clients expect "high-touch interactions," Wlach said.
"We already have an enormous presence in California, but you need to be in San Francisco to be in San Francisco," she said.
Wlach had worked in Mercury’s Washington, DC, office since 2013. Previously, she was an ABC News political unit producer, leading bookings for Good Morning America, according to a statement from Mercury.
Other agencies have opened or doubled down on a San Francisco presence in recent months. Gladstone Place Partners is planning to open an office in the city after hiring Christina Stenson. FleishmanHillard’s GMMB opened a location led by Matt James, former founding partner of Vrge, in March 2018, and Brunswick Group named a San Francisco office head last year after leaving the position vacant for years. Edelman pulled up stakes in San Mateo and moved all 14 employees from that office to San Francisco last fall.
Mercury also hired prominent California lobbyist John Ek this month. The firm also brought on former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in November 2018.