Brodeur Takes On Weber

PR Chiefs Rush to Build Global Tech Networks
BOSTON–A battle between two high-tech public relations titans brewed last week when Brodeur Porter Novelli here outlined plans to become a global shop specializing in technology accounts.
Agency chairman John Brodeur will encounter longtime rival Weber Public Relations Worldwide chairman Larry Weber every step of the way. Weber, on an acquisition binge since he sold his high-tech public relations practice to McCann-Erickson Worldwide in New York earlier this year, challenged Brodeur Porter Novelli’s assertion that it will become the only “pure” technology shop operating on a global basis.
Brodeur Porter Novelli last week bought A Plus in London, an agency in which the Omnicom Group, Brodeur’s parent company, already had a 20 percent stake. That shop will be renamed Brodeur A Plus.
In addition, Germany’s largest public relations firm, Khotes & Klews, will form a technology spinoff called Brodeur Kohtes & Klewes, Brodeur said. In Australia, Turnbull Porter Novelli will be renamed Brodeur Technology, he added. At least nine affiliated agencies in Europe making up the Euro Plus Network have become exclusive affiliates of Brodeur Porter Novelli, Brodeur said.
All together, Brodeur Porter Novelli ended the week with offices or affiliates in 22 countries.
Weber Public Relations Worldwide has eight offices devoted exclusively to technology public relations and affiliate relationships with agencies in at least 18 countries, according to Weber.
While he is intent on building a general public relations practice for McCann, Weber has no plans to abandon the network he has built over the past 11 years devoted to technology accounts.
Said one observer: “Both men are on similar missions. What makes it so interesting to watch is that both are of them are playing with someone else’s money.”