Klores: Where ad folks go when they need PR

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Peter Arnell and Paris Hilton share a secret, and it has nothing to do with a videotape. They both are clients of independent PR maestro Dan Klores, who's built up a practice that now includes a fair number of ad executives looking to tout their own personal brands.

Mr. Klores has 360-degree connections in entertainment, politics and business. Among his higher-profile clients are Ms. Hilton, whose family hired Mr. Klores to manage the furor surrounding her sex-video flap, and J.Lo, whom he guided through the "Gigli" disaster and then the wedding that wasn't. He's also big enough to resign clients such as Britney Spears and turn down calls to help Michael Jackson through the latest allegations.


Mr. Klores dipped his toe into politics with Andrew Cuomo's 2002 bid for New York governor. And Ron Berger, CEO-chief creative officer of Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York, is lucky Mr. Klores is a childhood friend. Their independent film, "The Boys of Second Street Park," was sold to Showtime and got outsized attention when it was released.

While the conventional wisdom today is that there are no more great advertising personalities, Mr. Klores thinks the opposite. "Advertising is in a pretty good place, there are all of these ad guys who don't get enough credit." Mr. Klores is an adviser to Donny Deutsch, Peter Arnell, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Richard Kirshenbaum, to name a few. His 12-year-old agency just picked up an account from the American Association of Advertising Agencies to help promote the nascent festival Advertising Week in 2004. Omnicom's GSD&M and independent Horizon Media are also clients. Dan Klores Communications has 120 employees and $17.5 million in revenue 2003, according to Mr. Klores.

Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, has been a client for the past year and a half, despite the fact his agency has a PR division. "It is not a good thing for our public relations unit to publicize the agency. Having a third party gives us credibility," he said.


Mr. Kirshenbaum starred in a Sunday New York Times Style section piece about a garden party at his house in the Hamptons this summer. "It is great to be able to go outside of yourself. Dan is a consigliere. It's good to be able to call and say, `What do you think of this book project?' "

Mr. Klores' agency also helped secure a nine-page profile of Mr. Deutsch in New York Magazine early this year (Mr. Deutsch is now a potential backer of the Primedia title). Mr. Klores has helped Mr. Deutsch build his reputation as an expert on image-building. Mr. Deutsch makes it clear that the PR agency works only on his individual projects, not on the agency itself. His outside projects include an investment in an independent-film company and as TV host for CNBC. "I don't look at him as a PR guy," Mr. Deutsch said, "I look at him as a business guy."

Indeed, Mr. Klores has packaged deals between his own clients. Kate Spade designed the uniforms for Delta budget carrier Song. Dan Klores Communications also works with a number of mainstream marketers, including Starwood Hotels, New Balance and General Motors Corp.

Larry Weber, former CEO of Interpublic Group's Advanced Marketing Services unit, did come close to acquiring the agency a couple years back. Mr. Weber credits Mr. Klores as one of the top five players in the business of promoting individuals and also as that rare breed of PR executive, a "giver as well as a taker." For now, Mr. Klores seems content to remain captain of his own ship.

"I've no desire to sell. I didn't want to be folded into a larger PR firm. I sometimes think I was naive, but I wouldn't have been able to do my own thing."

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