Difference between revisions of "Edelman"

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[[Category:Lobbying firms]]
[[Category:Lobbying firms]]
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Revision as of 00:25, 9 December 2011

Foodspin badge.png This article is part of the Foodspin project of Spinwatch.
Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.
Alcohol badge.jpg This article is part of the Spinwatch public health oriented Alcohol Portal project.

Edelman is the largest independently owned PR company with 46 offices and 50 affiliates around the world.


Founded in 1952, the company employs approximately 1856 people worldwide and in 2002 generated revenues of $206 million.

According to O'Dwyers PR Services listings, the largest contributors to Edelman’s 2002 earnings were from its healthcare practice ($56.71 million), high technology ($44.1 million), financial and investor relations ($33.1 million) and food ($21.46 million).[1]

According to Edelman’s it is currently ranked the sixth largest of all PR companies based on 2001 turnover figures.[2]

Edelman’s tops O’Dwyers rankings as the leader in environmental PR of all companies, earning $9.5 million in 2002. (However, it is worth noting that a number of the largest PR companies do not participate O’Dwyer’s rankings.)

Lobbying in the UK

Edelman's public affairs business in the UK employs 25 staff and freelance lobbyists based in London.[3]

According to its entry in Who's Who in Public Affairs 2006, Edelman Public Affairs' “vantage point provides clients with the insights they need to shape policy at the national and global level… We help them to form relationships with legislators, officials, special interest groups and sovereign governments to achieve their economic and political objectives… orchestrating a wide range of strategies and tactics including research, coalition building, stakeholder mobilisation, media relations and grassroots activities”.[4]

Breaching the lobbyists code

In September 2007, The Sunday Times reported that Edelman Public Affairs lobbied the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in July 2006 on behalf of a client, Pelcombe. At the time, Heather Rogers, wife of John Hutton, then secretary of state for DWP, was a director at Edelman. Pelcombe subsequently secured contracts with the DWP. Edelman failed to register its relationship with the firm on the Association of Professional Political Consultants’ (APPC) register – a breach of the APPC’s code of conduct.[5]

The Sunday Times reported: “In a proposal drawn up by Edelman in July last year (2006), the lobbying firm offered to fix meetings for Pelcombe’s managing director with MPs and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) officials “for the joint purpose of building relationships and gathering intelligence on current and future policy”. It added: “Targets are to be selected from the existing ‘political contact list’ as appropriate.” The Sunday Times reports that it was initially told by a source at Edelman that Pelcombe was “Heather’s client” and that she had introduced the firm to the lobbyists. This was later retracted.

Edelman's failure to register Pelcombe as a client is in breach of the APPC’s code of conduct includes a requirement for member agencies to disclose their clients and consultants.[6] The then chairman of the APPC, Gill Morris, accepted Edelman’s apology for the “oversight” and the remedial action the company agreed to take.[7] Michael Burrell, Edelman’s Europe vice-president is a member of the APPC’s management committee.[8]

Former employee, Heather Rogers was previously an aide to former Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, Labour MP for Darlington. Milburn was best man at Roger’s wedding to Hutton in 2004.[13] MP Milburn is now a paid advisor of one of Edelman’s clients Pepsico – as part of its new nutritional advisory board - for £25,000 a year, as is Tony Blair's one-time polling and image guru Philip Gould. [9]

UK lobbyists

Edelman lobbyists in 2008 included:[10]

  • Michael Burrell, Edelman’s Vice Chairman, Europe based in London. Described as one of the industry’s “big hitters”. Burrell is also on the management committee of the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC). Educated at St Peter's College, Oxford, Burrell started out in journalism before moving to lobbying in 1983, founding Westminster Strategy in 1986. He is opposed to the current efforts to introduce lobbying transparency in the EU, stating that the EU Commission’s plans to include financial disclosure in its register of lobbyists “would not be acceptable”.
  • Alex Bigg, Managing Director, Public Affairs (April 07-). Bigg worked for the Labour Party on Tony Blair’s tour during the 2005 General Election.
  • Luke Pollard, Senior Account Manager at Edelman, Pollard has a long history in politics as an advisor to two former Government Ministers, he was also seconded to the Labour Party for the 05 General Election and stood for Labour in the Local Elections in May 06. Prior to working in politics Luke worked in children’s TV as a studio manager for ITV. Luke is standing for the Labour party in South West Devon at the next General Election (expected 2010). South West Water is a client of Edelman.
  • Rishi Bhattacharya. A journalist for a decade – ITV Granada’s former political correspondent - based at Westminster for seven years “developing excellent presentational and written skills as well as building and maintaining contacts within Government and Parliament”.
  • David Noble, International Head of Bioscience, based in London and part of Edelman's larger Healthcare team.[12]

UK lobbying clients

Lobbying clients in 2011 include:

News Corporation - called in Edelman to help the embattled company handle mounting public anger and political pressure over the phone-hacking scandal in the UK. [13] Reporting directly to Will Lewis, general manager of News Corp subsidiary News International, the publisher of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, and to provide "communications and public affairs support and counsel" to its management and standards group.

Lobbying Clients December 2010 to February 2011:

AKW Medicare |Anglian Water (A&R Edelman) |Anglo American |Avanti Communications Group (A&R Edelman) |Aviva |Aviva Europe |Baker Botts |Balfour Beatty |BDO |Beyond Green Developments |BHP Billiton |British Virgin Islands Government |Capital and Counties |Capital Shopping Centres |Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) |Diageo GB |Diageo plc |Dove |Earls Court and Olympia Group |Falkland Islands Government |Terry Farrell and Partners |Gazprom |Havells Sylvania |The Hoseasons Group |Killik & Company |Leo Burnett |Living PlanIT |Merisant |Microsoft |Mitsubishi Corporation |Mubadala |NHS SBS |Network Rail |The Open University |PepsiCo |PepsiCo UK & Ireland |Pfizer |Reckitt Benckiser |Rosneft |Rydon Group |Samsung |Sainsbury’s |SC Johnson|Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) |Sime Darby |Shell |SNACMA |South West Water |SR Technics |Starbucks UK & Ireland |Steria |Visit London |Walkers Snacks Ltd |Wyndhams Exchange and Rental |Xstrata Auschwitz Birkenau Foundation [14]

Lobbying clients 2008:[15]

Airtricity | BDO International | BDO Stoy Hayward | Bechtel | British Brands Group | British School of Motoring | British Toy and Hobby Association | British Virgin Islands Government | Capital & Counties | Carbon Capture and Storage Association | Consol Suncentres | Deutsche Post | World Net | E.ON Climate & Renewables | E.ON UK | Falkland Islands Government | GE | Inbev | Janssen Cilag | LIFFE | Lloyds Register | MeadWestvaco | Microsoft | Mitsubishi Corporation | Musgrave | NedRailways | Novartis | The Open University | PepsiCo UK & Ireland | Reed in Partnership | Shell | SNACMA | South West Water | Starbucks UK & Ireland | T-Systems | Thomas Cook | Toy Industries of Europe | Tube Lines | Visa Europe

Lobbying Clients as at 2003: - compiled from the online PR company directory of O’Dwyer’s PR Services and other sources as referenced - include(d):[16]

Abbott Laboratories | Adidas | American Health Care Association | American Petroleum Institute | Apple Computer | Association of American Railroads | AstraZeneca | AT&T Wireless |Barilla |Baxter | Bayer | Berlex Laboratories | Boeing | Bunge | Bush Brothers & Co | Butterball Turkey Co. | Campanha Serra | Charles Schwab and Co Inc. | Chiron Corporation | Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Citibank | ConAgra Foods Inc. | Cranium | Dairy Management Inc. | Diageo | Eli Lilly & Co. | European Society of Intensive Care Medicine | Expedia | First Pacific Co. Ltd. | Fuji Photo Film | Gap Inc. | General Motors | Georgia-Pacific Corp. | Gilead Sciences | GlaxoSmithKline | Henry Schein Inc. | Hershey Foods Corp. | Home Depot | Household International | IDA Singapore | Illinois Deptartment of Commerce & Community Affairs | Johnson & Johnson | Kaiser Permanente | Kimberly Clark | Kinko's Inc. | Kraft Foods | MasterCard International | Michelin | Microsoft | Motion Picture Association of America | Mutual of Omaha | National Association of Broadcasters | National Bedding Co. | Natuzzi | Netflix | New York City Economic Development Corporation | New York Life | Nissan | Novartis | Orange | Panama Canal Authority | Patton Boggs LLP | Philip Morris [17] | PhRMA | Pfizer | Procter & Gamble | Progress Energy | Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development | Raytheon | Roche | Rockwell Collins | Samsung | Schering-Plough | Solvay Pharmaceuticals | Starbucks Coffee Co. | Synopsys | Taiwan Semiconductor | Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. | Together Rx LLC | Unilever | United Parcel Service | VTech Industries LLC | Valvoline Co. Wm. | Wal-Mart Stores | [18] Wrigley Jr. Co. | Wyeth Consumer Healthcare | Wyndham International | YUM! Brands

2002 Edelman won a $400,000 tourism promotion contract from the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau. It has done travel PR campaigns for the Government of Mexico Egypt Scotland Texas Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands. [19]

2002 Edelman also won a $1 million issues management and government affairs account with the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. According to O’Dwyer’s PR Services Report one issue likely to be included in the work is the controversy over the US Navy’s use of one of the islands for target practice. [20]

2001 O’Dwyers reported that Edelman were working for the government of Jordan to promote trade and economic development. [21]

Edelman extols the benefits of working with NGOs

Edelman has been one of the leaders in the PR industry in advocating the benefits of corporations ‘engaging’ with non-government organisations. “We recognized before anyone that NGOs, such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International, were influencing corporate social responsibility by highlighting environmental and labor practices”, Edelman’s claims on its website. [22]

Edelman PR tells clients that activists are winning because “they play offense all the time; they take their message to the consumer; they are ingenious at building coalitions; they always have a clear agenda; they move at Internet speed; they speak in the media's tone.”

The solution, it argues, are partnerships between NGO’s and business. “Our experience to date is positive,” they say, citing examples such as “Chiquita-Rainforest Alliance” and “Home Depot-Forest Stewardship Council.” [23]

A media release issued by Edelman touting for business described their advocacy of ‘partnerships’ between business and environmental groups more bluntly. “You've got an environmental disaster on your hands. Have you consulted with Greenpeace in developing your crisis response plan? Co-opting your would-be attackers may seem counter-intuitive, but it makes sense when you consider that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are trusted by the public nearly two-to-one to 'do what's right' compared with government bodies, media organizations and corporations." [24]

In 2001 they launched a short-lived series of “Edelman NGO Seminars” to “discuss the ramifications of the NGO phenomenon”. [25]

Defending Wal-Mart

In October 2005, Reuters reported that Edelman is to mount an aggressive campaign against Robert Greenwald's new documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price. In what is reported to be a movie industry first, Edelman's representatives emailed reporters press kits containing a point-by-point rebuttal of the film's trailer, which Wal-Mart is demanding be altered or removed from the walmartmovie.com website. (The trailer is under fire because the documentary itself will not be released until November 1, 2005.) "The press kit includes snippets from negative reviews of Greenwald's earlier works - one dating as far back as 1980 - and three examples of what the retailer calls factual errors in the latest documentary." [26]

Edelman "is working with the American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil industry's primary lobbying group, on a public issues campaign aimed at convincing Americans that the industry is facing severe challenges, even as its members pull in record quarterly profits," PR Week reported in November 2005. [27] Print ads designed by Edelman's advertising unit, Blue Worldwide, "have run in major daily newspapers across the nation, as well as in Roll Call and The Hill." The print ads urge "consumers to adopt conservation measures this winter" and push for the removal of "barriers on the production of natural gas on federal lands." Blue Worldwide also launched "a new TV campaign that will run during news and public affairs programming, which started with NBC Nightly News" on November 10.

Blog Watchers

In April 2005, Edelman and the "marketing intelligence" firm Intelliseek released a directory of the most influential bloggers and a white paper detailing the importance of blogs to marketing and PR. The directory "profiles bloggers in business, consumer packaged goods, consumer technology, healthcare, and marketing and public relations," and also "gives advice on blogger behavior and jargon."

"Clients are calling us with increasing regularity, asking what's going on [with blogs] and how is this affecting the business," said Edelman executive vice-president and GM of diversified services Rick Murray. Murray also warned that companies face risks when "attempting to communicate with the blogosphere -- you will do yourself harm." [28]

Edelman's white paper on blogs [29], called "Trust MEdia?: How Real People Are Finally Being Heard," was a little less ominous. "For companies, bloggers represent an immediate source of information and feedback, but also an opportunity to engage a rapidly expanding global network of influential, credible, passionate and involved group of real people who communicate constantly," said Pam Talbot, the head of Edelman U.S. The paper also notes that Edelman was the first major PR firm to launch a corporate blog, that of [30].


  • Richard Edelman
  • Michael Morley, is Deputy Chairman of Edelman Public Relations Worldwide and author of “How to manage your global reputation: a guide to the Dynamics of international public relations”, New York University Press, NY 2002.
  • Nancy Turett, President and Global Director, Health.
  • Kenneth Adelman, a senior counselor to Edelman, is a member of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, a government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon. [31]
  • Michael Deaver, Vice-Chairman.
  • Leslie A. Dach, Vice-Chairman (Public Affairs specialist)
  • Michael Burrell, European Chairman
  • Mike Seymour, Global Leader, Crisis and Issues Management
  • Richard Sambrook - former director of BBC news until May 2010, Chief Content Officer and Global Vice-chairman, also heads the Global Crisis and Issues Practise.
  • Ed Williams - former BBC director of communications (2008-2011), due to join Edelman in October 2011 as UK Chief Executive Officer [32]
  • James Lundie - managing director of public affairs [33].[34]


In 2008, Edelman is listed as affiliated to Precom[35]


Contact Information

3rd Floor
105 Victoria Street

website: http://www.edelman.co.uk

1500 Broadway
New York NY 10036
Phone: 212 768-0550 Fax 212/704-0128
Email: ny AT edelman.com
Web: http://www.edelman.com


  1. O'Dwyers PR Daily; 2002 worldwide fees of Independent firms with major US operations, accessed 29.10.03
  2. Edelman, About Us
  3. APPC register, to December 2008
  4. Who’s Who in Public Affairs 2006; Dods
  5. The Sunday Times, 23 September 2007, date viewed 10/01/08
  6. APPC Code of Conduct
  7. PR Week, 9 November 2007 date viewed 10/01/08
  8. APPC website, About us, date viewed 10/01/08
  9. Guardian, 30 May 2007
  10. APPC register, to December 2008
  11. Edelman press release, September 25th, 2008
  12. Edelman website accessed, Jan 08
  13. Rupert Neate and Mark Sweney, Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 July 2011 12.59 BST
  14. PRCA, Public Affairs Register December 2010-February 2011 accessed 8th December 2011
  15. APPC register, to December 2008
  16. [1]
  17. Chris Merrit, "Spin Doctor has some free advice for law firm", Australian Financial Review, May 10 1996
  18. [2]
  19. [3]
  20. [4]
  21. [5]
  22. [6]
  23. [7] (Download a copy of the February 2001 Edelman presentation 347k pdf file).
  24. [8]
  25. [9]
  26. [10]
  27. PR Week Nov 2005
  28. [11]
  29. Edelman website
  30. CEO Richard Edelman
  31. [12]. According to CPI, Adelman is “currently a national editor for The Washingtonian magazine. From 1981 to 1983, he served as deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations. He was director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1983 to 1987 and he also headed the U.S. team on annual arms control discussions to China from 1983 through 1986”.
  32. BBC’s Ed Williams to Join Edelman as UK CEO, Edelman London press release 6 July, 2011, accessed 14 July 2011
  33. [http://www.appc.org.uk/en/ourclients/ APPC Register, Entry for 1 March - 31 May 2011, accessed 20 September 2011
  34. The Budget 2009 - An Edelman analysis, Edelman UK, accessed 29 May 2010.
  35. Precom, Aangesloten bureaus Accessed 25th february 2008