Caught in Wendy's Pink-Slime Crossfire, Ketchum Hands BPI to Sibling Shop

What Happens When One Client Publicly Hits Another

By Published on .

It's not every day at a PR agency that one client deepens the crisis of another. But that 's what happened to Ketchum today when client Wendy's took a shot at client Beef Products Inc.

Earlier this month, the Omnicom PR firm took on a piece of the crisis communications work for BPI. The beef company produces "pink slime," a lean textured beef product that has taken a beating in large part because of its unappetizing name. But at the time, the firm couldn't have known that its crisis efforts would be undermined by Wendy's , which today ran a full-page ad in newspapers across the country stating: "We've never used 'pink slime' and we never will. That's our promise to you. That's Wendy's Way."

A Ketchum spokeswoman said: "Ketchum is dedicated to providing exceptional client service. On March 4 we began working on a confidential BPI assignment. As a result, we did not know that another client's business would intersect with the work we were doing. When we realized the implications, we informed both clients and while they understand that both of our teams are working independently, we are transitioning [BPI] work to another firm in the Omnicom network."

The firm did not elaborate on which of its sister shops is now handling the efforts for the troubled beef company. Other large PR firms in the Omnicom network include Fleishman-Hillard and Porter Novelli.

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