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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

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Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations, also known as Edelman, is the largest independently owned PR company, with 46 offices and 50 affiliates around the world.[1] It was founded by Daniel J. Edelman in 1952.[2] Its current president and CEO is Richard Edelman.[3]

According to a marketing executive, an Edelman executive providing media training to his firm said:[4]

"Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie. Make the audience or the reporter believe that everything is ok. How many times have you heard a CEO stand up and say, 'No, I'm not leaving the company,' and then -- days later -- he's gone. Reporters understand that you 'had' to do it and they won't hold it against you in your next job when you deal with them again."

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

In May 2012, PRWeek reported that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hired Edelman to "help it deal with recent corporate fallout and opposition to its legislative positions." This occurred after protesters and advocacy groups drew public attention to ALEC's role in spreading "Stand Your Ground" legislation in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. ALEC shed a number of corporate members as a result.[5] When contacted by a Vice reporter in August 2014, Edelman did not deny continuing to represent ALEC.[6]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

Edelman Goes After Reporters Investigating ALEC

Shortly after being hired by ALEC, Edelman began an aggressive PR campaign against a number of people associated with investigations into ALEC, including freelance reporter Bo Hodai, The Nation's Lee Fang, Color of Change staffer Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, and the Center for Media and Democracy's Nick Surgey. Its efforts focused not on any factual errors made in reporting on ALEC, but on the personal backgrounds of investigators and reporters.[7]

Clients, Practice, and Earnings

According to O'Dwyer's PR Services listings, the largest contributors to Edelman's 2013 earnings were in the areas of technology ($265.9 million), healthcare ($114.4 million), and food and beverages ($97.1 million).[8]

Edelman tops O'Dwyer's rankings of all PR companies, earning $734 million in 2013.[9] (However, it is worth noting that a number of the largest PR companies do not participate in O'Dwyer's rankings.)

Hired to Help Slaughterhouse Cover Up Animal Abuse

Edelman was also hired by a California slaughterhouse in August 2012 after several of their biggest customers severed supply agreements upon the discovery of video footage showing animal abuse. Some of the customers that severed their contracts include McDonald's, Costco, and In-N-Out Burger. The USDA also suspended the company on August 19, but the company reopened August 27. [10] Central Valley Meat Co. addressed these allegations through a statement via Edelman:

"After viewing the covert video, Central Valley Meat is now working with USDA to address any concerns the government and inspectors may have." [11]

Edelman Represents Climate Change Denial Groups

According to The Guardian, PR firms like Edelman "have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions – as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives."[12] But when surveyed in 2014 as part of a project by The Guardian and the Climate Investigations Center, many of the world's top PR firms have said that they would not "represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution."[12]

Edelman, however, refused to make such a commitment. An internal response to the survey, which was accidentally copied to the Climate Investigations Center, said "I don’t believe we are obligated in any way to respond. There are only wrong answers for this guy."[12] The company "has a rich history of greenwashing and working with companies that promote climate change denial," as Vice has written, including the American Petroleum Institute (API), ALEC, and E.On.[13]

Edelman has been closely involved in climate change denial campaigns, including creating astroturf campaigns in support of the Keystone XL pipeline and other dirty energy projects.[14]

While Edelman's president, Richard Edelman, has written in support of addressing climate change,[15] and has claimed that "We do not accept clients that seek to deny climate change,"[16] the company continued to represent at least three climate change deniers as of August 2014: the API, E.ON, and ALEC.[6]

Edelman Plans Aggressive PR for Alternate TransCanada Pipeline

Documents obtained by Greenpeace and reported in the New York Times in November 2014 exposed a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an "aggressive" American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export. According to the documents, "the PR campaign also includes a 'pressure' campaign against activists, which includes 'Detailed Background Research on Key Opposition Groups,' beginning with the Council of Canadians, but would likely extended to Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Avaaz, and Ecology Ottawa," as reported by the Center for Media and Democracy on PRWatch.org.[17]

The Edelman documents for TransCanada note that to achieve their goal of adding "layers of difficulty for opponents, we will work with third parties and arm them with the information they need to pressure opponents and distract them from their mission . . . . Third-party voices must be identified, recruited and heard to build an echo chamber of aligned voices." This "third party technique," pioneered by U.S. tobacco companies, would include identifying professors to use as trusted speakers to advance the corporation's point of view (while not disclosing that the academics had been recruited to do so or "armed" with corporate talking points). Edelman previously represented big tobacco companies for which it deployed the third party technique repeatedly (see below).[17]

Mike Millar, a representative for TransCanada, told the New York Times that the company did investigate opponents and "had followed Edelman's advice to create a network of allies. But Mr. Millar said TransCanada had rejected Edelman's recommendation of using third parties in a campaign against opponents."[18]

The digital PR operation was set to be led by Michael Krempasky, a right-wing blogger and co-founder of RedState.com who previously "had to apologize for his Walmart campaign that used fake grassroots bloggers."[19] Krempasky, who describes himself as a "flacktivist" (combining the words activist and "flack," slang for publicist), also has ties to the Koch network, which funded much of the infrastructure of the "Tea Party" movement Krempasky helped promote on RedState.[17]

Edelman did not issue a comment to the New York Times, although TransCanada did confirm the authenticity of the documents. A representative of the company stated that it planned to continue working with Edelman, saying, "They've done a good job for us."[18]

Edelman and API Partner on Climate Denial Astroturfing

Edelman represents the American Petroleum Institute (API), which pays the firm about $52 million a year according to reporting by The Nation's Investigative Fund.[20] Edelman helped API organize the astroturf group Energy Citizens in 2009, according to Vice and the Washington Post.[21][13] Energy Citizens ran a national ad campaign in 2012 that attempted to create the appearance of mass grassroots support for fracking, which Edelman helped coordinate,[22] and lobbied hard to prevent Congress from passing legislation to address climate change in 2012.[6]

UK Climate Activists Target Edelman on E.ON

On July 16, 2008, activists with Oxford Climate Action blockaded Edelman's headquarters. Several protestors gained access to the firm's offices while others climbed onto the roof to unfurl a banner reading "Edelman: Spinning The Climate Out Of Control".[23] Edelman PR was hired by E.ON, the world’s largest investor-owned energy service provider.[24] E.ON is proposing to upgrade its coal-fired Kingsnorth power station to use supercritical coal technology. Kingsnorth is currently considered to be a conventional coal plant but under the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive, the plant would eventually have to be closed without the upgrade.[25] According to activists, Edelman PR is engaging in a campaign to 'greenwash' E.ON's continued investment in burning coal.[26]

ALEC's Opposition to Addressing Climate Change

ALEC has produced a number of model bills aimed at promoting dirty energy and preventing government at the local, state, and federal levels from addressing climate change.[27][28] ALEC has worked closely with the Heartland Institute in its attempts to deny and spin climate change, for example drafting model legislation that would require schools to teach climate denial to children.[29]

In August 2014, CMD reached out to Edelman repeatedly for comment about its relationship with ALEC, but received no response.[27]

Read more about ALEC's climate change denial here.

Other News and Controversies

Edelman Advises Businesses to "Seize the Day" After Robin Williams' Death

On August 12, 2014, the day after the death of comedian Robin Williams, Edelman executive vice president Lisa Kovitz published a blog post advising businesses and mental health organizations on how to use the actor's suicide to build publicity, calling it a "carpe diem moment."[30] As described by Business Insider, "Kovitz urged mental health organizations and businesses to take a "visible and aggressive approach" and create content for their websites and social media pages tied to Williams' death.[31]

Edelman China CEO Disappears Amid Corruption Investigation

On August 1, 2014, news surfaced that Edelman China's CEO, Steven Cao, had disappeared amid an investigation by the Chinese government "into services the agency supplied a Chinese TV station at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009 and 2010," according to PR Week. Cao reportedly had been cooperating with the investigation.[32] In 2007, Edelman had become majority shareholder in Pegasus Communications, of which Cao was co-founder. As of mid-August 2014, the subject of the investigation had not been made public. Ad Age noted that Cao had close ties to new anchor Rui Chenggang, another co-founder of Pegasus. Chenggang was detained by Chinese authorities in July 2014, which is "widely assumed to be part of a larger probe into allegations of corruption at his broadcaster, state network CCTV," according to Ad Age.[33] The Wall Street Journal reported that Chenggang had held a financial stake in Edelman at the time when Edelman was providing services to CCTV.[34]

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 used to claim on its website. [35]

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." [2] (Download a copy of the February 2001 Edelman presentation 347k pdf file).

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." [3]

In 2001 they launched a short-lived series of "Edelman NGO Seminars" to "discuss the ramifications of the NGO phenomenon." [4]

U.S. Government PR Contracts

According to the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform Minority Office, Edelman received the following amounts per year, for federal PR contracts: [5]

  • $50,200 in 2002
  • $35,588 in 2004


Edelman works for the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). While details of their work on the account are scarce, in 1997 Edelman did the PR for re-enactment of thousands of Mormons travelling from Illinois to Utah in covered wagons. [6]

Boosting PepsiCo's Reputation

In July 2009, PepsiCo announced it was retaining Edelman, for a "multimillion-dollar corporate reputation campaign." According to Pepsi's vice-president of strategic communications, P.J. Sinopoli, the contract includes "rais[ing] awareness among PepsiCo stakeholders about the totality of the PepsiCo brand," along with "showcasing the company's healthier snacking options and its corporate social responsibility (CSR) work." Also working on the contract are the firm Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, on "message management," along with Edelman's research arm, StrategyOne. [36]

Hustling for Microsoft

In April 1998 the Los Angeles Times revealed that Edelman had drafted a campaign plan to ensure that a dozen state attorney-generals did not join anti-trust legal actions against Microsoft. Documents obtained by the LA Times revealed that the plan included generating supportive letters to the editor, opinion pieces and articles by freelance writers.

According to the doucments a goal of the campaign was to counter “negative, reactive coverage that is driven by state attorneys general”. According to the documents the press clippings that would be generated were described as “leveragable tools for the company's state-based lobbyists" for use by state-based political consultants in their lobbying. The supportive clippings were intended to complement other materials – such as consumer surveys and economic studies – supporting Microsoft’s contributions to regional economies.

According to the documents, Edelman – which boasts on its website that it was the PR company that pioneered litigation PR – planned to time one phase of stories to “will coincide with April 21 oral arguments before U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Microsoft motion to disqualify Lawrence Lessig as special master in Microsoft antitrust case.”

The internal documents identified Rory Davenport, Edelman's director of "grass-roots and political programs" in Washington and Neal Flieger as having been involved in the preparation of the strategy and scheduled to appear at a meeting to co-ordinate the implementation of the plan. When contacted by the LA Times, Davenport stated only that “there is no agreement for a campaign like that” while Fleiger said “I'm not prepared to amplify on that at all.”

Boosting the Tech Sector

In May 2001, Richard Edelman, the President & Chief Executive Officer of Edelman, said that PR companies had to accept part of the blame for the over-hyping of the tech-sector that led to its eventual melt-down. “We willingly canonized CEOs, created buzz and relied on hype”, Edelman told the Reputation.com conference in London. According to O’Dwyers PR Services, Edelman said PR companies conducted "whoopee-cushion PR."

Edelman said “We must have transparency, disclosing sources of information and revealing our presence in chat rooms. … We must also offer fact-based information, not hype or spin … We need to encourage dialog and inform all stakeholders simultaneously as information becomes available”. [7]

In an on-line response to the article, Jim Monahan, from PR IMPACT in Illinois, challenged Edelman’s speech as blame-shifting. “Richard Edelman would like to put a blanket of guilt over the entire public relations industry because his agency and others over-hyped the dot.com businesses that are failing faster than physical flatulence. Keep the blame yourself, Richard. And, for all the guilt you feel and admission you took client money and then let them down --- hey, start up a foundation with the forum topic being How PR Practitioners Should Point Guilty Fingers at Themselves First and Foremost---and Return Fees to Clients Upon Admission of Major Failure”, he wrote.

Edelman and the Tobacco Industry

In 1987, Daniel Edelman produced a plan for INFOTAB, the international tobacco industry group made up of the major worldwide tobacco companies and their associated trade organizations.

Perceiving a major threat from the secondhand smoke issue, the global tobacco companies realized that they lacked coordination among themselves, and that they would need to coordinate to uniformly fight public health efforts which were increasing around the world. Thus they formed INFOTAB. According to industry documents, the goals of INFOTAB were to establish an "early warning" system for anti-smoking initiatives worldwide, to "track activities of pressure groups and international consumer unions" and "to take industry programs to the grass roots and municipal levels" to help the industry to prevail over public health. Edelman prepared a presentation for INFOTAB on how the tobacco industry could mount a coordinated, international campaign to fight the secondhand smoke issue around the world. The document is titled INFOTAB ETS Project: The Overall Plan

A 1978 R.J. Reynolds document produced by Edelman Public Relations company, proposes Reynolds begin a comprehensive public relations effort to "slow or reverse the growing negative trends in public opinion regarding smoking." Edelman proposes a number of tactics including a "press event on the passive smoking issue," "a whimsical feature [publication] which seeks to bring out the humor of the smoker vs. non-smoker conflict," "excerpts from some leading civil libertarians and editorialists on the 'freedom' issue," a courteous-smoking appeal to smokers, a "Traveling Etiquette Spokesperson," production of a film on "Smoker and the Non-smoker" that would address "issues that divide them other than the primary health issue," and a Smokers' News Bureau based in New York that would "generate news stories...showing that smoking is not as annoying to the nonsmoker as is widely perceived." Edelman also proposes commissioning a survey by a "nationally famous research organization" that would poll people on the "degree of annoyance of a whole range of obnoxious habits--i.e., body odor, bad breath, whiskey breath, loud talkers, foul language, sneezing, uncurbed dogs, etc. " Edelman says, "The survey would include smoking, but our sense it that it will show that smoking is relatively insignificant as an annoyance compared with scores of other personal practices, against which there are no organized efforts."

Edelman notes that surveys done by both companies (RJR and Edelman) showed that "the smoker himself has no pride, feels guilty, ashamed, is not willing to defend or describe the pleasure he gets from smoking." Edelman seeks to correct this by undertaking a campaign to associate smokers with "elegance, style, class, and intellectual responsibility -- personality traits that can give him pride."

This document, titled Taking the Initiative on Smoking: A Total Program shows how the tobacco industry sought to minimize the health dangers associated with primary and secondhand smoke exposure, and reinforce the social acceptability of smoking, even as public health efforts were ongoing to discourage smoking.

Other Campaigns

In November 2001 Edelman was called on to advise the Red Cross is America after it decided to set aside $264 million of the $564 million it raised for its Liberty Fund in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks for victims of any future terrorist attacks. It was a decision that angered the families of victims and legislators. [8]

Edelman was hired in February 2002 by financial services companies to organise Americans for Sensible Estate Tax Solutions, a front group to reduce estate tax. The campaign argued that the reduction of the tax would reduce the need for the rich to resort to tax shelters and increase donations to charities. [9]

Edelman was called on to assist Wampler Foods after a US federal investigation into products from the poultry packing company were identified as likely to have caused a fatal outbreak of listeria. According to a report in O'Dwyer's PR Services Report, the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Agriculture and local authorities identified that precooked turkey deli meat was the likely suspect of the outbreak which infected 46 people, killing seven, since July. The agencies said one food product and 25 environmental samples taken at a Pilgrim's Pride plant in Pennsylvania tested positive for listeria.

Wampler had claimed in a media release that "no illnesses associated with the listeria strain in the Northeastern U.S. outbreak have been linked to any Wampler products" and argued that listeria often occurs naturally in the environment. [10]

The American Council for Fitness and Nutrition (ACFN) -- a coalition of food and beverage companies -- in November 2002 selected Edelman and Dittus Communications to counter calls for regulatory action to deal with the obesity epidemic in the US. ACFN funders include American Frozen Food Institute, Kraft Foods, Chocolate Manufactuers Assn., Sugar Assn., Grocery Manufacturers of America, National Restaurant Assn., National Council of Chain Restaurants, and the Assn. of National Advertisers. [11]

In October 2002, Edelman signed a pledge that it would not work for tobacco companies when it won the account with the non-profit group, the National Dialogue on Cancer. However, the specialist publication, The Cancer Letter (TCL), revealed in July 2003 that Edelman had undertaken work for British American Tobacco’s Malaysian subsidiary in promoting its social reporting project. Edelman’s Vice Chairman, Leslie Dach, told TCL that the contract with BAT Malaysia had “slipped through the cracks” and had been cancelled when it was drawn to their attention. [12]

Edelman was called on by the French-owned Sodexho Alliance to defeat proposals by a Republican congressman to strip the company of its $880 million food service contract with the Marines and award it to a US owned company. [13]

As the leader in pharmaceutical PR, Edelman is a leader in managing crises for clients and development partnerships between drug companies and patient groups. “So what does PR stand for?” asked Nancy Turett, the president and global director of Edelman Health. “It stands for powerful relationships. The heart of PR is third-party credibility,” Turett wrote in Pharmaceutical Executive in September 2002. “Third-party messages are an essential means of communication for validating scientific credibility, for legitimizing products, for building brand and disease awareness, and for building defenses against crises,” Turett wrote. “As advocates develop louder voices, pharma companies must forge alliances and win allies.” [14]

In February 2004 the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Edelman's Chicago office had contributed $32,600 to Illinois Democratic Party Governor Rod Blagojevich. The story also reported that Edelman's contract with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED) to promote tourism had been renewed despite competition from rival PR companies Ketchum and Ruder Finn. The three-year contract was reported to be worth $6.2 million with $12.2 million having been paid to the company since 2000.

While the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Edelman was not the lowest bidder, the director of communications for the department, Laura Hunter, told PR week the contract renewal was "entirely based on their qualifications." [15]

Edelman Chicago's general manager of consumer practice and tourism practice leader within the agency told PR Week defended making political contributions as a part of a strategy to win contracts. "It's really a part of doing business ... We have made contributions throughout the history of the company really because we're a part of the community," she said. [16]

In March 2004 the U.S. Department of Commerce hired Edelman and M&C Saatchi was hired by to manage a advertising and PR campaign to boost the numbers of visitors from Britain. According to PR Week, the campaign is aimed at overcoming America's 'brash' image and opposition to America's foreign policy. Edelman's UK joint chief executive Nigel Breakwell told PR Week that at least 10% of the $US6m would be for PR. [17]

In April 2005 the PR trade publication PR Week revealed that Andrew Merrill, the global managing director of Edelman's financial communications practice, was heading up a team campaigning on behalf of eight former Morgan Stanley executives to topple the chairman CEO Philip Purcell. According to the report Merrill and five other staff in Edelman's New York office were working on the campaign.[18]

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." [19]

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. [20] 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.

Health and Nutrition Panel

In June 2008, Edelman announced the formation of the "Edelman Food & Nutrition Advisory Panel," staffed by "globally known food and nutrition experts" who will "provide strategic counsel to the firm’s food and nutrition staff in the areas of obesity, food ethics, food policy, functional foods, health claims, and nutrition communications," according to the Holmes Report. Panel members include Arthur Caplan from the University of Pennsylvania, Johanna Dwyer from the New England Medical Center, Gary Foster from Temple University, and Jeanne Goldberg from Tufts University. [37]

Edelman Studios

In May 2008, Edelman launched "Edelman Studios," a "virtual studio designed to pair emerging talent and established storytellers with brands and companies looking to connect with consumers in new ways." The effort will develop "television shows, short and feature films, and 'webisodes' from screenwriters, producers, and directors who will have the opportunity to compete for assignments from marketers," according to the Holmes Report. Initial clients included Burger King, Butterball, Expedia, and Kraft's Philadelphia Cream Cheese. [38]

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." [21]

Edelman's white paper on blogs [22], 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 CEO Richard Edelman.

International Partners

"Edelman has agreed a strategic business partnership with Indo Pacific Public Relations (IPPR), one of Indonesia’s largest independent public relations firms," wrote the Holmes Report ("Edelman Forms Alliance with Indonesian PR Firm," March 19, 2007). The partnership, to be known as Indo Pacific Edelman, will be launched in April 2007.

"Senior technical advisor to IPPR Chadd McLisky, will continue to lead a team of 114 staff and will work closely with Bob Grove, Edelman’s managing director for Southeast Asia, to support clients, particularly in the healthcare, technology, FMCG and oil and gas sectors," according to the Holmes Report.

Case Studies


As of August 2014:[39]

In July 2014, Edelman hired two former U.S. Senators as "strategic advisors," Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH).[40]

Income and Employee Totals

O'Dwyer's PR lists Edelman as earning $734 million in 2013.[41]. It notes the firm has more than 5,000 employees. This makes it by far the largest independent PR firm since in second place is APCO Worldwide with $120,345,400 in fees and fewer than 700 employees. [42]


Compiled from the O'Dwyer's firm listings and additional sources as noted.


Based on sources accessed in 2014, including O'Dwyer's listing for Edelman,[43] Edelman's official website,[44] and additional resources as noted.


Main source O'Dwyer's listing for Edelman (accessed April 2008): [49]

In February 2009, the major military contractor ITT Corporation hired Edelman, to promote the company "in the defense in the defense and commercial markets, as well as raise awareness of its ongoing CSR," or corporate social responsibility, efforts. [52]
Main source O'Dwyer's October 2003 firm profile: [23]

In 2002 Edelman won a $400,000 tourism promotion contract from the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau. The firm has also done travel PR campaigns for the Governments of Mexico, Egypt, Scotland, and Texas, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, and the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands. [26]

In July 2002 Edelman won a $1 million issues management and government affairs account with the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. According to O'Dwyer's PR Services Report, the contract likely included addressing the controversy over the U.S. Navy's use of one of the islands for target practice. [27]

In May 2001 O'Dwyer's reported that Edelman were working for the government of Jordan to promote trade and economic development. [28]

Contact Information

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

SourceWatch Resources

External Links

Articles and Other Resources

See Edelman: External links


  1. Edelman Public Relations, About Us:Welcome, organizational Web site, accessed November 23, 2010
  2. Edelman, About Us, organizational website, accessed August 13, 2014.
  3. Edelman, Richard Edelman, organizational website, accessed August 13, 2014.
  4. Hamilton Nolan, "'Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie'," Gawker, February 13, 2008.
  5. Virgil Dickson, "Under-fire advocacy group ALEC works with Edelman," PRWeek, May 10, 2012. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Brian Merchant, "[http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-worlds-biggest-pr-firm-is-in-denial-about-its-climate-change-denial The World's Biggest PR Firm Is In Denial About Its Climate Change Denial," Vice, August 12, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  7. Lisa Graves, "ALEC Goes After the Center for Media and Democracy," Center for Media and Democracy, PRWatch, August 29, 2012. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  8. Edelman, O'Dwyer PR, online public relations firm database, accessed August 12, 2014
  9. PR Firm Rankings: Independents, O'Dwyer PR, online public relations firm database, accessed August 2014
  10. Catherine Merlo, "Meat Plant Reopens,"Dairy Today, August 27, 2012.
  11. Greg Hazley, Edelman Works Slaughterhouse Crisis, O'Dwyer PR, August 24, 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Suzanne Goldenberg and Nishad Karim, "http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/04/worlds-top-pr-companies-rule-out-working-with-climate-deniers World's top PR companies rule out working with climate deniers]," The Guardian, August 4, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Brian Merchant, "How the World's Biggest PR Firm Helps Promote Climate Change Denial," Vice, August 5, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  14. Steve Horn, "API Spent $22 Million Lobbying for Keystone XL; State Dept Contractor ERM an API Member," DeSmogBlog, June 26, 2013. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  15. Richard Edelman, "The Climate Change Imperative," blog post, July 22, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  16. Richard Edelman, "Edelman’s Position on Climate Change," blog post, August 7, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Lisa Graves, "Edelman TransCanada Leak: Aggressive PR for Keystone Alt," Center for Media and Democracy, PR Watch, November 18, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ian Austen, "P.R. Firm Urges TransCanada to Target Opponents of Its Energy East Pipeline," New York Times, November 17, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
  19. The Council of Canadians Acting for Social Justice/Le Conseil des Canadiens Agir pour La Justice Social, "TransCanada hired world's largest PR firm to target Council of Canadians' Energy East campaign," press release, November 17, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.
  20. Lee Fang, "The Shadow Lobbying Complex," The Nation, Investigative Fund, February 20, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2014.
  21. Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin, "American Petroleum Institute auditions do not stick to script," Washington Post, December 9, 2011. Accessed August 12, 2014.
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