Porter Novelli International
This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.
Porter Novelli International is a PR and lobbying firm. It is part of the Omnicom Group of advertising and marketing companies.
According to the firm's website, "Porter Novelli International was created in 1996 by two international public relations leaders, Bob Druckenmiller and Peter Hehir, who had a vision of the first, true multinational, multicultural public relations firm capable of delivering best-in-class service to clients in all major world markets." 
Druckenmiller "had co-founded Porter Novelli in the U.S. in the 1970s," while Hehir "had founded Countrywide Communications Group in the United Kingdom in the 1970s." The two joined forces "in the late 1980s to offer global service to both companies' major clients," the website states. 
In a listing on its website of PR companies with a crisis management capability, the American Meat Institute described Porter Novelli's U.S. expertise as including "product recalls, tampering, environmental and natural disasters, regulatory and legislative issues, labor and factory incidents as well attacks [sic] from advocacy groups at the national as well as the local level." 
"Porter Novelli is a national, full-service communications firm of over 500 professionals with offices in Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix and Miami. Porter Novelli is the flagship agency of Porter Novelli International, with offices in 81 cities and 40 countries," the AMI website continued. 
The New York Times reported that Porter Novelli (PNI's "flagship agency") "was founded in 1972 by William D. Novelli and Jack Porter, advertising men who worked together to market the Peace Corps and to get President Richard M. Nixon re-elected." 
Porter Novelli and Climate Change
Porter Novelli helped promote the U.S. Business Roundtable's "Climate RESOLVE" program, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. Climate RESOLVE was created to encourage companies to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responding to George W. Bush's call for a voluntary 18 percent reduction of emissions by 2012 and attempting to undermine an international treaty on GHG.
The Climate RESOLVE campaign kicked off on September 23, 2004 with ads in the Washington Post and Roll Call to be followed by "one-pagers" for "Congressional aides, environmental officials and reporters to keep them abreast of efforts to control greenhouse gas."
Climate RESOLVE is also hosting a two-day "GHG Management Workshop," featuring a talk by White House Council on Environmental Quality chair James L. Connaughton. The Business Roundtable says 70 percent of its members have signed up for Climate RESOLVE. "They are eager to avoid the mandated cuts that are going into effect in much of the world under the Kyoto Protocol, the pending international treaty of global warming," O'Dwyer's writes. 
U.S. Government PR Contracts
According to the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform Minority Office, Porter-Novelli received the following amounts per year, for federal PR contracts: 
- $1,080,000 in 1997
- $3,833,000 in 1998
- $16,098,000 in 1999
- $5,416,000 in 2000
- $3,576,000 in 2001
- $14,786,313 in 2002
- $7,495,188 in 2003
- $7,019,145 in 2004
Porter-Novelli's federal contracts have included work for the Department of Health and Human Services, for their National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carrying out an “annual mail survey … that examines health-related attitudes and behaviors.”
The Food Guide Pyramid
Porter Novelli "invented the first pyramid in the late 1980's," but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) "delayed its release until 1992," due to complaints from meat and milk producers that "their products were placed in such a way that people might be discouraged from consuming them." 
With the release of new USDA federal dietary guidelines in early 2005, Porter Novelli won a government contract worth nearly $2.5 million to design an updated version of the food guide pyramid - an informational graphic that may or may not be a pyramid. Noting that government food guidelines "can be powerful marketing tools for the food industry," affecting sales as well as "federal food programs costing $46 billion a year, including food stamps and meals for schoolchildren," some questioned the propriety of awarding the contract to a firm whose clients include McDonald's and the Snack Food Association. "You have a company on one hand pushing McDonald's or almonds or whatever, and on the other providing objective advice on government nutrition programs," said Center for Science in the Public Interest director Michael F. Jacobson. "It really does pose a conflict of interest." 
Porter Novelli executives "say a fire wall dividing the government effort from the corporate interests, and the various corporate interests from one another, is maintained by confidentiality agreements, strict separation of the teams working on various campaigns and a number of protocols and computer safeguards on the flow of information." Moreover, stated William D. Novelli, the firm's mix of private and government clients creates "synergy. It benefits both clients. Consumers are not purists. They are not monolithic." 
According to the firm's website, its leadership is composed of: 
- Helen Ostrowski, CEO
- Gary Stockman, President
- Ada Parr, Director, Global Network
According to its website, Porter Novelli clients include: 
- American Legacy Foundation
- Pfizer Inc
- American Cancer Society
- Hewlett-Packard Company
- Procter & Gamble
Other reports list the following as current or former clients: 
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- M&M Mars
- Campbell Soup Company
- Dole Food Company
- Snack Food Association
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- Guinness stout
- Johnnie Walker Scotch
- National Cancer Institute
UK Clients and staff
75 Varick Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 601-8439
Email: gloria.kestenbaum AT porternovelli.com
- American Meat Institute, "Public Relations Firms With Crisis Management Capabilities, accessed February 8, 2004.
- Nicholas Zamiska, "Food-Pyramid Frenzy: Lobbyists Fight to Defend Sugar, Potatoes and Bread In Recommended U.S. Diet," Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2004. (Porter Novelli wins USDA contract to redesign the Food Pyramid, worth at least $1.6 million in the first year. The firm designed the original pyramid in 1991.)
- "PN helps BR on global warming", O'Dwyers PR Daily, September 22, 2004.
- Kim Severson, "When a Food Marketer Devises Nutrition Advice," New York Times, April 10, 2005.
- "Novelli's AARP censors left leaning posters ...," Arizona Eclectic Blogspot, April 8, 2007.
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