Entertainment industry public relations and brand marketing powerhouse agencies Rogers & Cowan and PMK*BNC have announced they will operate as one entity. They are pooling a collective client roster that exceeds 30 corporate brands and 500 individual clients that include Denzel Washington, Brie Larson, Robert Redford, Felicity Jones, Elton John, Sly Stallone, Steph Curry, Robert Zemeckis, Trisha Yearwood, Michael B. Jordan, The Rolling Stones, Sean Combs, Vince Vaughn, Miles Teller, Ray Romano, Mel Gibson, Katy Perry and NASCAR driver Jimmy Johnson.
The agency will be steered by chairman Cindi Berger, CEO Mark Owens and Chairman of the Entertainment Division Alan Nierob. Shirley Hughes will be President of its Brand Marketing division, Fran Curtis and Brad Cafarelli will be Vice-Chairman of the Entertainment Division and Bill Rosenthal its COO/CFO.
The move bucks a recent trend in the entertainment industry where clusters of publicists have peeled away from bigger agencies with their clients to form boutiques. Here, the betting is that bigger is better. The merge of these firms is made easier considering that both agencies are owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies, and are part of Octagon Sports and Entertainment Network. And both firms are already under the same roof in Los Angeles, at 1840 Century Park East. The combined company also has offices in New York, Nashville, Miami and London.
Among the brands repped by R&CPMK*BNC are Activision, Audi, Chopard, Cisco, Fred Segal, Hasbro, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Masterpiece Theater, Samsung, Verizon, and Microsoft.
Both companies have a long history in Hollywood that encompass the changing tides for Hollywood PR and star image building over the decades.
R&C was founded in 1950 by Henry Rogers and Warren Cowan, back when stars were under contract to studios. Actors and actresses were then promoted almost exclusively by the film studios, and Rogers & Cowan took advantage of the realization by stars that it was better to take control of their images in promoting their work during awards season, and not leave it up to their studio masters. The agency repped the likes of Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Danny Kaye, Rex Harrison, Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, Liz Taylor, Shirley MacLaine, Olivia de Havilland, Jane Wyatt and Jane Wyman. Rogers & Cowan in 1987 was acquired by the London-based Shandwick P.L.C., the largest public relations consultancy in the UK. Shandwick PLC was in turn purchased by Interpublic in 1998.
PMK started as Pickwick Public Relations, founded by Pat Kingsley, Gerry Johnson and Patricia Newcomb. That firm merged in 1980 with Maslansky/Koenigsberg (the late Gotham-based press agent Michael Maslansky constitutes the “M”). PMK in its heyday in the ’80s and ’90s became the dominant PR firm. Steered by Kingsley, the late Lois Smith and Leslee Dart, the firm used its stronghold of superstars from Tom Cruise to set ground rules before giving stars for TV and magazine covers when cover subjects drove newsstand sales. The agency joined forces for awhile with HBH principals Simon Halls, Stephen Huvane and Robin Baum, but that trio took its star clients and peeled away to form Slate PR when the companies were merged with BNC — the PR firm formed by Howard Bragman, Mike Nyman and Brad Cafarelli — with a decided emphasis on brands.
Today’s development constitutes a new iteration for the companies.
“This is a game changing and transformative moment for our agency, and a move that will create significant value and tremendous opportunities for our company and clients around the world,” said Rogers & Cowan CEO Mark Owens. “I have watched within IPG the great work that our now partners PMK*BNC, under Cindi’s leadership, have accomplished for an incredible list of talent and brand clients, and felt the timing was perfect to align and create an even more compelling offering.”
Said PMK*BNC CEO Cindi Berger: “With our diverse roster of creative and brand clients, and seasoned management, this partnership provides a remarkable opportunity for us to take our clients and campaigns to new levels. Our unique position and insight will deliver the best of brand marketing with the best of entertainment strategies, and further our ability to influence trends, spark meaningful conversations, and leverage culture to create defining moments and experiences that stand the test of time.”
Said Rogers & Cowan Co-President Alan Nierob: “This merger allows us to combine the most talented client roster with the most talented group of individuals representing them. Our success over the years has always been defined by providing the highest level of professionalism and personal representation worldwide to our entire client roster, which we will continue to do on a larger scale.”