NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Edelman is beefing up its public affairs division by bringing in two Washington heavyweights, Bob Shrum, manager of Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid, and Doug Schoen, a founding member of the now WPP-owned Penn, Schoen, and Berland polling firm. The moves are effective January 1.
The two will join the independent Edelman as senior counselors in its Washington-based public-affairs sector. Agency CEO Richard Edelman told Ad Age that Mr. Schoen would also provide guidance in the area of corporate social responsibility.
"The regulatory framework is going to evolve," Mr. Edelman said. "There are just so many issues that are going to be reconsidered so it's going to be an important area for us."
Mr. Shrum, a longtime Washington insider, ran Mr. Kerry's unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign and has been involved with a number of other failed presidential efforts, including Al Gore in 2000 and Michael Dukakis in 1988. He is currently a senior fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.
Mr. Schoen rose to prominence along with fellow Harvard graduate and partner Mark Penn during the Clinton administrations, which used their polling firm's research and strategy. His bio on the Huffington Post, for whom he writes a column, states that he has provided strategic research to some of the world's biggest marketers, including Procter & Gamble, AOL Time Warner, AT&T, Frito Lay, Citibank and Major League Baseball.
The nation's capital is sure to be a hotbed of activity and a major revenue producer for the public affairs and lobbying practices of many PR agencies in 2009. With all the economic distress currently running throughout the country, many agencies believe Washington will be one of the only areas they will definitely see significant positive growth in.
Big growth year in D.C.
Mark Hass, global CEO of MS&L Worldwide, told Ad Age that his agency is also planning for a big year in Washington, based on all of the change taking place this January with a new administration and Congress. He said 2009 is "definitely" going to be a big growth year for the agency in Washington.
"If you think about the public-affairs business, it's structured around the government trends," Mr. Hass said. "Government is going to be more important for the next two to three years than it has been for a long time because of what's going on in the economy. It's pulling the levers of the American banking system in a very active way. It's going to own shares of American companies so the need to be in Washington is going to be exponentially higher for this industry and for others."
He added, "The relationship between business in America and government has fundamentally changed and as a result everything that surrounds that relationship changes -- the lobbying, public affairs communications and God knows what else, but everything around that relationship changes."