It has been common to believe that, while small to medium consultancies are doing well, there are fewer really big accounts around as corporates and government beef up their own communication functions and salaries.
So it was good to see some really big fees earnt from the massive Anhaeuser-Busch InBev SABMiller takeover according to the shareholder documents released late in August. The banks were big winners out of the 79 billion pounds deal with financing and advisory banks getting north of a billion pounds – almost as much as the taxmen. The blog reports this in pounds and US dollars because it derived the information from The FT (20-21 August 2016) and couldn’t be bothered converting to $A after recently holidaying in Europe and finding the process disconcerting.
Lawyers do pretty well earning $US76 million in fees although management consultants have done better with some $US120 million shared among various providers.
But the big surprise for the blog was the PR fees. The financial PR company, Brunswick, earned $US20 million in fees from AB InBev work while Finsbury earned $9 million dollars from SABMiller.
Not much compared with the banks and lawyers but better than the accountants – $15 million for AB InBev and $4 million for SABMiller. Better also than the 5500 people who will lose their jobs as the companies are rationalised.
Now the blog’s old firm had a few clients who spent seven figures in a year for a few years and total annual Federal and State government accounts for big PR companies would also sometimes top the $1 million mark. But it is a fair bet that there are few, if any, $9 million let alone $20 million accounts in Australia. If there are the blog might be tempted to come out of retirement.
Meanwhile on the subject of not hearing (see last post) due to beliefs or ignorance the blog picked up a couple of other examples in recent weeks. First, The TLS reviewed David Rieff’s In Praise of Forgetting which looks at historical memories, myths and ironies. As the reviewer, Hew Strachan noted, polls in 2014 in the UK showed that Brits believed firmly that the war’s centenary should be marked but “they had little idea of who was fighting with whom and against whom.” Second, Kristin Dombek, in the Weekend Financial Times (20-21 August 2016) wrote a long meditative piece on narcissism. Dombeck has also written a book, The Selfishness of Others. In the article she cites an internet meme ‘about a certain American politician. “The memes include the following: “1. His face in a haughty, upward look with the caption ‘Malignant Narcissist’ underneath. 2. His face in an ugly expression with the criteria for NPD – grandiosity, an excessive need for admiration, lack of empathy and so on – superimposed over it.3. His face while he’s giving a speech with a tally of the number of times he used I and me in the speech superimposed on it. 4. His face kissing his own face in a mirror.”
An astute politically observer will guess straight away – in a world of ironies like those raised by Rieff – who was doing the posting and who was the subject. Those who thought the face was Trump and the posters the Democrats go to the back of the class. It was, of course, Obama pictured and US conservatives posting.