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Ketchum Celebrates 90 Years of Leadership in Communications

NEW YORK, May 22, 2013 – On this date in 1923, Ketchum, which is one of the world’s largest communications firms, incorporated in Pittsburgh with three employees. Today Ketchum’s nearly 3,000 colleagues around the world in 130 locations celebrate the firm’s 90th anniversary, making it the longest-tenured public relations firm in the world. It will commemorate the milestone with a series of global philanthropic initiatives, including donating 90 creative brainstorm sessions to nonprofit organizations over a period of 90 days.

“As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we are looking ahead at how we can continually increase the value we deliver to our clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. To keep our focus on the future, we will be celebrating our anniversary by improving the lives of those less fortunate,” said Rob Flaherty, senior partner and chief executive officer. “Ketchum has a rich history and culture that we draw upon to help guide the decisions we make for the firm every day. I am extremely proud of the enormous success Ketchum has achieved to date, and with that success comes the responsibility to propel our business and the industry forward during this time of opportunity.”

A Commitment to CSR

Driven by the belief that the power of communication can create a better world, Ketchum has a long legacy of providing pro bono support to nonprofit organizations through hands-on volunteer efforts, fundraising campaigns and strategic counsel. To mark its 90th anniversary, Ketchum will be undertaking two major philanthropic initiatives – a series of 90 creative brainstorms in 90 days for nonprofits around the world, and funding to support 90 young women in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania and a region in India to complete secondary school through Ketchum’s pro bono partner, Room to Read. 

For the next 90 days, Ketchum colleagues will lead and participate in brainstorms to assist a local nonprofit in overcoming a challenge the organization is currently facing. The range of organizations covers research foundations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (supported by Ketchum New York), foreign aid organizations like Born in Africa (supported by Ketchum Belgium), and social service agencies like Diakonie Jugendhilfe Oberbayern (supported by Ketchum Pleon Germany); additional organizations can be found at www.ketchum.com/90-brainstorms.

This year also marks Ketchum’s fifth anniversary with Room to Read, a global organization focused on transforming children’s lives through literacy and gender equality in education. Underscoring the importance of Room to Read’s mission, Ketchum and its employees have committed to donating the money needed to empower 90 girls who are enrolled in the nonprofit’s Girls’ Education program to graduate from secondary school and develop the skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom. The money raised will be a combination of agency and employee contributions.

“So many girls are forced to drop out of school due to economic, social or safety factors, which leaves them at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives,” said Erin Ganju, co-founder and CEO of Room to Read. “It is our goal to provide girls around the world with equal access to a quality education, allowing them to gain literacy skills and become active members of society, lifting themselves, their families and society out of poverty. Ketchum’s commitment to support 90 young women in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania and a region in India through financial support, mentorship and life skills training will provoke a wave of empowerment that will cascade to future generations.”

Flaherty said, “Several years ago, the agency set a goal to lead in the area of corporate citizenship and established the award-winning Ketchum Social Responsibility program as a platform for a wide range of partnerships, initiatives and pro bono projects that we are undertaking. As we mark our anniversary, we believe that one of the most meaningful ways to engage our global network and celebrate our success is by continuing this commitment to giving back to others.”

A Commitment to Client Service and Break Through Initiatives

The cornerstone of Ketchum’s 90 successful years is the partnerships it has developed with its clients throughout the years. Said Ketchum senior partner and chairman Ray Kotcher: “With some of the longest-standing relationships in the communications industry, our clients have placed their trust in us to help them advance their brands and build their reputations. Together, we have created a number of the most recognized and sophisticated campaigns in the industry, from feeding Stouffers products to the Apollo 11 crew, to developing and coordinating the Atlanta Olympic Games Torch Relay, to helping Doritos pioneer consumer-generated Super Bowl advertising, to supporting IBM’s Centennial celebrations, including the world’s largest Day of Service event.”

True to its break through brand, Ketchum has been a leader on many initiatives in the communications industry, from being the first PR firm to join the United Nations Global Compact, to establishing the first in-house test kitchen for food clients, to being the first PR agency to utilize an open innovation platform for idea generation, to winning the first Cannes PR Lion. Ketchum is also the only firm to win three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Award wins, which it did in 2009, 2010 and 2011 on behalf of IKEA, Dreyer’s and Mattel, respectively, and it holds more PRSA Silver Anvil award wins than any other firm, with 136. Further, Ketchum helped to found the International Communications Consultancy Organization in 1989 and the Council of PR Firms in 1998, and today many of the firm’s executives continue to hold leadership positions in industry organizations.

Dale Adams, chairman and CEO of Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services division, said, “When looking at the evolution of the public relations industry, there are a few individuals and firms that are recognized as leaders. Ketchum is certainly among them. From its track record of award-winning work for clients, to helping to form the Council of PR Firms, to its advancement of research and measurement, Ketchum is recognized for helping to grow the public relations industry into the important and professional industry that it is today.”

Flaherty said, “Looking forward, we aim to be the most valued communications consultancy in the world. We will do this by ensuring our teams are working seamlessly across any geography where our clients need us, increasingly integrating paid, earned, shared and owned media, and providing detailed marketing analytics that allow companies to evaluate effectiveness and optimize their budgets.”

Ketchum also will commemorate its 90th anniversary milestone with a global virtual staff meeting. In addition, it will host an anniversary event following the Silver Anvil ceremony on June 13 in New York, and also will celebrate during the 60th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, beginning June 16 in Cannes, France.

About Ketchum

Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. Named 2012 PR Agency of the Year (PRWeek and European Excellence Awards) and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., visit www.ketchum.com.

About Diversified Agency Services

Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), manages Omnicom's holdings in a variety of marketing communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate through a combination of networks and regional organisations, serving international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries. 

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