Cohn and Wolfe Ltd

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Cohn and Wolfe - a subsidiary of WPP - describes itself as a "strategic marketing public relations firm dedicated to creating, building and protecting the world's most prolific brands."[1] It has offices all over the world including UK, US, throughout Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region.

The firm claims to be an agency for the 'new communications landscape'. It is a global public relations agency with 50 offices in major markets around the world. They 'offer a powerful combination of breakthrough, brand-building creativity and pioneering digital and social media strategies.' [2]

The firm's 10 industry practices are Consumer Branding, Corporate, Digital, Energy, Entertainment, Healthcare, Public Affairs, Sports Marketing, Sustainability and Technology.

It offers clients 'strategic partnerships' with other WPP companies, including Quinn Gillespie, a lobbying firm.

Cohn and Wolfe has also teamed up with lobbying firm Open Road in the UK. [3]


Cohn and Wolfe recognise that Healthcare PR is changing and encourage clients to search for new models in communicating effectively to healthcare professionals, consumers and payors. The agency in turn creates 'bold creative strategies' with a focus on providing consumers with more information to take more active roles in their healthcare. According to C & W: 'As public relations professionals, it's our job to really understand the conversations happening among our clients' customers, patients, physicians, policy makers, and payors. Much of today's conversation is happening in social media channels, and this is true for healthcare.'[4] The agency claims to be an expert in working in the complex environment where healthcare providers, patients, caregivers, advocacy groups and manufacturers engage in digital communications channels like social communities, blogs, and various audio/video sites.

Dabbling with fake blogging

Fake blogs - a form of viral marketing in which PR or advertising agencies attempt to generate interest in their client's product by creating a fictional character on the internet - are drawing criticism from real bloggers. Cohn & Wolfe apologized in 2005 after "using a fictional character to leave a series of thinly veiled advertisements on blogs and other websites. A number of websites were hit last week with messages from Barry Scott," a fictional spokesman for a British household cleaning product.

British blogger Tom Coates was especially outraged and called it "a new low for marketers" after he wrote an emotional account of his relationship with his father, and then received comment spam from "Barry Scott" disguised as condolences. Coates replied: "My view was that any right-thinking person would view trying to market your product on such a post as revolting, corrupt, cynical, disgusting, sick and dishonourable."[5][6][7]

Ghost-written journal articles

Cohn & Wolfe was at the centre of a scandal in which Eli Lilly (a Cohn & Wolfe client) officials ghost-wrote studies for medical journals. The articles plugged an Eli Lilly drug, the antipsychotic Zyprexa, and were published under the names of credentialed scientists.[8]

Zyprexa is controversial because it is administered by internal injection and is sometimes given forcibly to psychiatric patients. It is also controversial because of its severe listed side-effects, which can include diabetes and tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements of the mouth, tongue, jaw, or eyelids). The latter side-effect is in some cases irreversible.[9]

In spite of these drawbacks, Lilly sought to make Zyprexa “the number one selling psychotropic in history,” reports. In order to make the drug attain its "sales goal", Eli Lilly hired ghost-writers to prepare the articles for publication in medical journals. Documents unsealed as a result of a lawsuit against Eli Lilly for overpricing its drugs reveal that Cohn & Wolfe played a PR role in this process. reports:

“The paper for the Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry supplement has been completed and sent to the journal for peer review,” Kerrie Mitchell, an employee of the public relations agency Cohn & Wolfe, wrote in a Feb. 23, 2001, e-mail to Michael Sale, a Lilly marketing official. The message was among the unsealed files.
“We ‘ghost’ wrote this article and then worked with author Dr. Haddad to work up the final copy,” Mitchell said in the e- mail. Eric Litchfield, a spokesman for Cohn & Wolfe, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment... Peter Haddad, a researcher at Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K., was listed as the article’s lead author. [10]

Rebranding shyness as national disease problem

According to a story by Martha Rosenberg on AlterNet, Cohn & Wolfe is credited with rebranding shyness as a disease that requires medication with the drug Paxil:

Slick PR firm Cohn and Wolfe is credited with vaulting "shyness" to a national psychiatric problem, the answer for which is Paxil, and creating faux grassroots patient groups like Freedom From Fear to push their clients' drugs.[11]

Paxil is an antidepressant drug of the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) type, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. It became controversial after a Wyoming, USA lawsuit in 2001 brought against GlaxoSmithKline. The jury decided that Paxil was implicated in a tragic case where a 60-year-old man, Donald Schell, shot and killed his wife, daughter and granddaughter and then himself after taking Paxil for only two days. The jury, assisted by the expert testimony of Dr David Healy, a well known critic of SSRIs, concluded that Paxil "can cause some people to become homicidal and/or suicidal." GlaxoSmithKline was ordered to pay the plaintiffs, members of Mr Schell's family, $8 million.[12]


PRCA lobbying register

December 2015-Feburary 2016

3M | Asia Pulp and Paper | Ferrero UK Ltd | Lloyds Banking Group | Scottish Widows | Warburtons [13]

September 2015-November 2015

3M | Asia Pulp and Paper | Ferrero UK Ltd | Lloyds Banking Group | Scottish Widows | Warburtons [14]

June 2015-August 2015

3M | Asia Pulp and Paper | Ferrero UK Ltd | Lloyds Banking Group | Scottish Widows | Warburtons [15]

March 2015-May 2015

3M | Asia Pulp and Paper | Ferrero UK Ltd | Lloyds Banking Group | Scottish Widows | Warburtons [16]


As of June 2009 O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms lists Cohn & Wolfe clients as including:[17] 3M | ADP | American Foundation for Suicide Prevention | Chevron Texaco | Coca-Cola | Colgate-Palmolive | Danone | Diageo | DuPont | Eli Lilly & Co. | Epson | Hewlett-Packard | Hilton Hotels | Illycafe | Intel | M&M/Mars | McDonald's | Merck | Novartis | PGA | Pfizer | Seagram's (Absolut) | Sears | Smuckers | Sony | Taco Bell


Executive team

Regional and market leaders

Practice and industry leaders

Healthcare: Linda Dyson Healthcare Practice Leader

PRCA lobbying register

December 2015-February 2016

Andrew Escott | Anna Price | Ben Castrillon | Eleanor Wilcox | Katy Richardson | Rory Fletcher [13]

September 2015-November 2015

Andrew Escott | Anna Price | Ben Castrillon | Eleanor Wilcox | Katy Richardson | Rory Fletcher [14]

June 2015-August 2015

Andrew Escott | Anna Price | Ben Castrillon | Eleanor Wilcox | Katy Richardson | Rory Fletcher [15]

March 2015-May 2015

Andrew Escott | Anna Price | Ben Castrillon | Eleanor Wilcox | Katy Richardson | Rory Fletcher [16]

Former people

Contact details

Cohn & Wolfe London/EMEA
7-12 Tavistock Square
Lynton House
London, WC1H 9LT
United Kingdom
+44 (0)207 331 5300
Fax: +44 (0)207 331 9083

292 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212.798.9700



  1. Cohn & Wolfe website
  2. Cohn & Wolfe. Cohn & Wolfe About Us. Accessed on 24 October 2009.
  3. APPC register, 12 2006 - 03 2007
  4. Cohn & Wolfe. Cohn & Wolfe Practices. Accessed on 24 October 2009.
  5. Tom Coates, On Cillit Bang and a new low for marketers...",, September 30, 2005.
  6. An apology from the Cillit Bang team...",, October 4, 2005
  7. Bobbie Johnson, "Cleaner caught playing dirty on the net", The Guardian (UK), October 6, 2005
  8. Elizabeth Lopatto, Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk, "Eli Lilly "ghost-wrote" articles to market Zyprexa, files show", Bloomberg, 123 June 2009, accessed 23 June 2009
  9. Zyprexa, Zydis,, accessed 23 June 2009
  10. Elizabeth Lopatto, Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk, "Eli Lilly "ghost-wrote" articles to market Zyprexa, files show", Bloomberg, 123 June 2009, accessed 23 June 2009
  11. Martha Rosenberg, Are You One of Big Pharma's Lab Animals?, AlterNet, 7 December 2007, accessed June 23 2009
  12. Evelyn Pringle, "Uphill Battle - Warning Pharma Customers about Dangers of SSRIs",, 29 September 2006, accessed 23 June 2009
  13. 13.0 13.1 Cohn and Wolfe clients, Dec15-Feb16, PRCA, accessed 4 May 2016
  14. 14.0 14.1 Cohn and Wolfe Ltd client list, Sep-Nov15, PRCA, accessed 5 May 2016
  15. 15.0 15.1 Cohn and Wolfe Ltd client list, Jun-Aug15, PRCA, accessed 5 May 2016
  16. 16.0 16.1 Cohn & Wolfe Ltd client list, Mar-May15, PRCA, accessed 5 May 2016
  17. Cohn & Wolfe, O'Dwyer's, accessed 17 June 2009
  18. Adam Werbach Annie Longsworth Appointed North America CEO of Saatchi S Saatchis, 9 January 2012, accessed 21 October 2014
  19. Michael O’Brien Rejoins Ketchum as Executive Vice President, Director, New York Client Service Ketchum, 9 March 2009, accessed 21 October 2014
  20. Carol Panasiuk Linkedin, accessed 21 October 2014
  21. Patrick Smith Rose de la Pascua leaves Cohn & Wolfe to head up Weber Shandwick, Spain PR Week, 14 June 2014, accessed 21 October 2014