BREAKING: PR Shops In Flame War

Chris Anderson, what have you wrought! Earlier this week the Wired editor published a much-publicized list of PR folks whose emails he’s banned because they clog his inbox with irrelevant and thoughtless pitches. (We did this once but never put our list on a blog.)

But now Chris’ stunt has led to something with grave consequences: A catfight between rival PR shops!

Yesterday, SAI contributor Steve Blinn noted that his company wasn’t on Chris’ blacklist, and promptly bragged about it via emails — some sent to clients of rival companies. One of them, Ronn Torossian’s 5WPR, is retaliating by trying to nab Steve’s clients and his employees. Steve forwarded us a long stream of email between the two companies, some of which involves bad language and prison yard threats, and much of which is repetitive, so we’ll just excerpt here:

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From: Adam Handelsman, 5WPR EVP
To: Steve Blinn

Your email to my client is disgusting and I want you [and employee John Chapman] to take notice… I have instructed every one of my staffers (80) to personally target your clients. I will pay them an entire month’s fee as a bounty for every client they take from you. I am also personally calling CEO of your clients, and forwarding your BS email around the industry.
Great move moron… this is war!

From: Ronn Torossian, 5WPR founder
To: Assorted BlinnPR employees

Show us your paychecks and we will give you a $20K raise.  Email me anonymously. If you send me your clients contact info and we close them I will give you $10K and your firm will never ever know. Please feel free to contact me and no one will ever know.

7:18pm, Handelsman to Blinn

I am going to hire someone to stand outside your office… 5k commission on new business to your staff, plus a 20% raise just to leave with your clients.You made my night.  And yes, I am forwarding to all of your clients your note that you don’t work late or hard… thanks… I do. 

7:25, Blinn to Handelsman

If you do make sure she is good looking?  Maybe she can hand out a one sheet on how not to get blackballed by the media.


We also checked in with Ronn and Adam this morning, just to make sure that we were summarizing their thoughts correctly — perhaps they’ve reconsidered their words since last night. Nope! Adam described Steve as a struggling freelancer, while Ronn repeated his bounty offer. To be clear, while we’ve liked working with Steve, we’re standing in a neutral corner on this one — mostly because we don’t want to get hit in the crossfire.

Update: BusinessWeek just happens to have profiled Ronn in its recent issue — this isn’t the first time he’s said something unkind about a competitor.

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