Rubenstein PR Fingerprints On A-Rod’s Ass

Richard Rubenstein, Rubenstein Associates PR firm, representing New York Yankee slugger Alex RodriguezWho is covering Alex Rodriguez’s ass in his latest media imbroglio? Richard Rubenstein (left, in blue shirt and pink tie), estranged son of the famous ‘Czar of PR’ Howard Rubenstein, has confirmed that he is guarding the posterior of the best slugger in baseball.

What can Richard do for A-Rod that his weasel agent Scott Boras or his other agent Guy Oseary can’t? Richard isn’t talking but A-Rod’s ‘confession‘ has all the earmarks of aggressive PR hardball and a challenge to the media to back off. A-Rod was vague about what drugs he may have taken but specific about who the real enemy is – Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts. When you want to divert attention from the topic, you shoot the messenger – that’s hardball PR.

Richard’s father, Howard, has represented George Steinbrenner for years so that avenue is off limits to A-Rod. Howard’s other son, Steven, is heir to the elder Rubenstein’s empire but Richard has carved out his own mini-empire representing an odd conglomeration of small public companies, rappers, entertainers, and real estate moguls (he’s promoted several Trump projects).

See Gawker post on dueling memos between 5W honcho Ronn Torossian and Richard Rubenstein – two blustering schmegeggis who can’t spell and can’t write threatening each other with holy terror and lawsuits. These guys are … what? … 12 years old?

Bright Spots Amidst Troubled PR Biz, Says Comp Guru

Dennis Spring, PR compensation expert from Spring Associates, news about the Official PR Salary & Bonus Report - 2009 EditionThe much-anticipated Official PR Salary & Bonus Report© – 2009 Edition reveals the grim reality we all face – PR jobs are scarce, salaries are flat, bonuses are being slashed dramatically.  Bottom line – if you have a job, hold on to it. If you think you have a fat bonus coming to you - think again. Bonuses are down an average of 34% vs. a 9% rise last year, according to the report.

Official PR Salary & Bonus Report - 2009 Edition, from Spring Associates

PR pros at agencies and corporations are working harder, says Dennis Spring (top, left), President of Spring Associates, the New York-based executive recruitment firm.  As PR staffs shrink, fewer employed execs are expected to pick up the slack. We are in an employer’s market – a world away from where we were last year. Ironically, this situation could spell opportunity for some.

“There have been ‘defensive layoffs’ that have left some agencies and corporate PR departments short staffed,” says Spring. “They cut PR staff anticipating the recession and now they find they need more experienced people.” Spring sees spotty hiring in health care, high tech, some consumer areas and IR (investor relations). Financial PR is lagging. 

The 2009 Official PR Salary & Bonus Report is compiled from Spring Associates’ proprietary database of more than 20,000 credentialed corporate communications and agency public relations professionals nationwide. Spring Associates collects data on a daily basis from direct contact with PR professionals. This is 13th annual Report.  

The Report is used by C-suite execs, managers, HR people, department heads, anybody who needs accurate information on PR salaries, bonuses and compensation trends, says Spring.

Spring Associates offers a free salary check-up exclusively for PR professionals.

PR AGENCY SALARY SNAPSHOT

Position Average Salaries – Nationwide  % change from 2008
Executive vice president $147,100 2.9
Senior vice president 125,700 2.2
Vice president 104,400 2.3
Account supervisor 72,900 1.3
Senior account executive 59,400 2.4
Account executive 52,100 4.2
Position NY, Atlanta, Chicago, L.A.  % change from 2008
Executive vice president $167,600 2.4
Senior vice president 143,700 2.6
Vice president 117,800 2.6
Account supervisor 82,900 2.2
Senior account executive 68,400 2.1
Account executive 57,200 3.2
Position Boston, Dallas/Houston, D.C., S.F.  % change from 2008
Executive vice president $147,300 2.3
Senior vice president 130,800 2.2
Vice president 105,100 2.0
Account supervisor 77,200 3.0
Senior account executive 64,000 3.0
Account executive 58,900 4.1
Source: “The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report” – 2009 Edition, Spring Associates, Inc., New York, NY

CORPORATE SALARY SNAPSHOT

Position  Average Salaries – Nationwide  % change from 2008
Senior vice president $164,000 1.9
Vice president 144,000 1.4
Director 126,000 1.6
Manager 98,700 1.8
Communications Specialist 75,200 3.0
Position NY, Atlanta, Chicago, L.A.  % change from 2008
Senior vice president 179,600 2.5
Vice president 160,400 2.5
Director 141,600 2.0
Manager 106,000 2.9
Communications Specialist 80,000 2.6
Position Boston, Dallas/Houston, D.C., S.F.  % change from 2008
Senior vice president 169,000 1.8
Vice president 150,100 1.2
Director 134,000 3.9
Manager 106,200 2.7
Communications Specialist 81,700 4.7
Source: “The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report” – 2009 Edition, Spring Associates, Inc., New York, NY

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A-Rod Slams Media in PR Home Run

Selena Roberts, SPorts Illustrated reporter, stalking Alex Rodriguez?Alex Rodriguez’s interview yesterday with ESPN (see video below) was a masterstroke of PR message and obfuscation. A-Rod was clear that his use of PEDs  (performance enhancing drugs) was contained to a “naive, stupid” time of his career with Texas when the culture of baseball was “loosey goosey.” He has been clean since he joined the Yankees and he implored us to look at the consistency and longevity of his career and not judge him harshly for an anomaly he regrets.

Since this is A-Rod he always appears to be holding back more than he is revealing and he is jockeying to enhance and protect an image clean enough for a Wheaties box (at least he didn’t get caught smoking pot like Michael Phelps). New Yorkers like honesty and they like winners, A-Rod said. All true enough, but what’s this bit about Selena Roberts (top,left) , the Sports Illustrated reporter who broke the A-Rod PED story, stalking him and spreading lies?

Selena Roberts is a highly accomplished sports reporter. When she was with The New York Times she wrote insightful stories about A-Rod and his damaged psyche hurting the team. She is coming out with a book on A-Rod in May that apparently he will not like since he consistently referred to her as something of a journalistic svengali. 

Sports Illustrated published a Q & A with Roberts, in which the reporter talks about the process of breaking the story and her efforts to speak with Rodriguez. She also calls the slugger’s claims “absurd” in an interview with MLB Network.

“”I’ve never set foot in the lobby of Alex’s New York apartment. I’ve never set foot on his property. It’s pure fabrication,” said Roberts, who did say she drove by Rodriguez’s house after receiving permission from Miami Beach police to drive on public property near A-Rod’s house. The Miami Beach police have a “miscellaneous incident” report of that conversation, but Roberts was not cited for anything.

Roberts also asked for and received permission from security at the University of Miami to enter the school’s workout facilities and talk to Rodriguez on Thursday. “I think it’s a diversion, a shoot-the-messenger type of thing,” Roberts said.

 

A-Rod Comes Clean

Alex Rodriquez, New York YankeesAlex Rodriguez admitted to ESPN today that he took PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) in 2003 when he was with the Texas Rangers. Quote from the interview:

“Back then, [baseball] was a different culture,” Rodriguez said. “It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

“I did take a banned substance. For that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”

Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees for the 2004 season after a trade from Texas, said “all my years in New York have been clean.”

Rodriguez also said of his 2007 interview with Katie Couric on “60 Minutes,” when he denied ever using steroids, that “at the time, I wasn’t being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?”

Good PR move, A-Rod. Now, let’s win a championship.

A-Rod Needs Good PR Bad

Alex Rodriquez, New York Yankees, front page, New York Daily News, Sunday, January 8, 2008. Rodriquez tested positive for steroid use in 2008Big-ticket baseball is about public relations, and there is no bigger attraction in the big leagues with no greater need for deft PR right now than Alex Rodriguez.

The Sports Illustrated bombshell report that A-Rod tested positive for steroids in 2003 has set off a media frenzy and a baseball fan outcry that threatens to consume the game and the Yankees. Rodriguez has a unquenchable penchant for attention. He is a magnet for controversy that heightens the drama of the game. This could be the moment when the A-Rod show shifts from curious comedy to outright tragedy.

Of course, Alex Rodriguez has blown it before, especially in 2007 with the tasteless self-serving ‘opt-out’ of his Yankee contract during the World Series. He pulled out of that tailspin with a PR offensive (and a $270 million contract) that quelled the angry New York masses and a understandably indignant Hank Steinbrenner, the Yankee owner.

A-Rod went on to win the MVP, hit his 500th homer in a Yankee uniform, divorce his ‘long suffering’ wife Cynthia, pal around with Warren Buffet and Madonna, and skate through with his ‘clean’ image intact as the alternative to the ‘tainted’ Barry Bonds.

Now the New York Daily News is calling for the Yankees to cut him loose and The New York Times opines that A-Rod may be damaged goods beyond repair no matter what his accomplishments.

This is a moment that begs for good PR that follows the simple rules of crisis communications. My advice to A-Rod and his weasel agent, Scott Borass:

  • Hold a press conference. Come clean fully, with emotion, and an understanding of the gravity of the situation.
  • Admit your mistake without equivocation. Admit that you lied, if that is the case.
  • Stress that you have been tested many times over the year and you have been clean for over five years.
  • Vow that you will remain ‘clean’ as long as you play baseball.

Get it all out at once, be contrite, put it to rest, move on. Otherwise, you will be hounded like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, the Yankees will suffer, fans will suffer, the game will suffer, and, mark my words, most of all you will suffer. Do not underestimate the persistence and viciousness of the New York media and Yankee baseball fans.

Outside A-Rod’s New York City penthouse on Park Ave., fans gave a harsh verdict. “It’s very selfish and unfair,” said Ina Lah, 20, of Connecticut. “The fans trust him, but all he cares about is fun and winning. He needs to make a statement about this.” “He doesn’t care,” said life-long Yankees fan Gabe Tigre, 21, of the Bronx. “He doesn’t care what we think. He’s already got his records and his money.” New York Daily News