Mumbrella’s PR agency of the year: Edelman

Edelman Australia has undergone something of a renaissance in 2011.

Edelman CEO Michelle Hutton

Edelman CEO Michelle Hutton

The arrival of CEO Michelle Hutton in the middle of last year was followed by an intake of strong senior operators including Matthew Gain as head of digital for Australia and Anna MacIntosh as director of consumer marketing.

The agency has kicked on since, and proved itself with work beyond traditional PR, and beyond the areas it is best known for – technology and corporate communications.

Its best work was managing the messaging around the introduction of The Australian’s paywall.

A controversial move by News Limited, Edelman reports having halved the negative conversations in social media after helping to educate readers on the reasons why they should pay for something they used to get for free.

For Samsung, Edelman set up a pop-up Samsung store next to queues outside the Apple Store on the day of the launch of the iPhone 4.

Work for Paypal and eBay has also impressed.

Other good hires, such as Grant Thomas as director of technology in Sydney, Trevor Young as director of strategy and innovation in Melbourne and Alex Lefley as an account director to aid the expansion of the Melbourne office’s digital PR services have given Edelman strength in depth.

Hutton’s legal stoush with WPP that followed her exit from Hill & Knowlton to join Edelman has, if anything, spurred the agency on, while her former employer has struggled.

Even rivals admit that Edelman has re-established itself as an industry leader through its performance this year.

New clients include Kmart Tyre and Auto Service, after a three-way pitch, and KFC, which put a PR agency on a retainer for the first time.

The agency has also come up with some new tools, such as BlogLevel, measuring the influence of blogs.

Edelman is one of Australia’s fastest growing with headcount in Sydney rising from 22 to 40 in 2011. The Melbourne office of 15 marked a year of growth by moving into its new Collins Street office.

In year when the consumer PR agencies hogged the headlines, Edelman put itself back on the map.

Commended: Mango

Mango’s transformation from an anonymous, quiet achiever within the DDB Group three years ago to a vibrant force in consumer PR was cemented in 2011.

Boss Simone Drewry has re-engineered an agency with a distinctive culture of its own, and has positioned Mango as a pioneer in experiential and consumer PR.

Revenue has grown by 11% this year, staff numbers are up to 30 in Sydney and eight in Melbourne, and Drewry has brought in Claire Salvetti from Zing as managing partner. Telstra has proved a springboard – its best work for Telstra’s 4G launch saw YouTube sensation Rebecca Black perform in a street activation campaign.

Lifestyle PR agency Liquid Ideas was also a close contender.

  • Details of Mumbrella’s selections for agencies of the year are available in The Mumbrella Annual, which goes on sale – digitally and in print – shortly


  1. Matthew Gain
    14 Dec 11
    11:31 am

  2. Wow!!!! Thanks Mumbrella we are incredibly thrilled and excited at this news. The team here are high fiving and celebrating currently. Champagne is ordered for this afternoon.

    Congrats also to Mango and Liquid Ideas. To be amongst such esteemed colleagues and formidable competitors is a true honour.

  3. david brain
    14 Dec 11
    11:40 am

  4. Fantastic news and congratulations to all my colleagues in Melbourne and Sydney.

  5. Sean
    14 Dec 11
    11:57 am

  6. Great pick!

  7. archie
    14 Dec 11
    12:35 pm

  8. Mumbrella i think you should clarify that this award is effectively for Consumer PR agency of the year unless you can confirm that you also evaluated the work of the top Corporate Affairs/Corporate Finance PR firms

  9. Chloe Partikas
    14 Dec 11
    12:36 pm

  10. Such a great pick! Everyone I know who works at Edelman is hard working, on the ball and an all round great person.

    Congratulations Edelman!

  11. Michelle Hutton
    14 Dec 11
    1:52 pm

  12. Many thanks Mumbrella. We’re very proud and humbled to achieve this recognition. Congratulations to our very talented colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne. Thanks to our clients across Australia who allow us to do great work for them. Congrats to Mango and Liqiud Ideas – they are both great agencies doing great work. WooHoo!

  13. Becci Stalker
    14 Dec 11
    2:07 pm

  14. Congratulations to the team at Edelman! Also well done to Mango and Liquid Ideas for the mentions. It is great to see so many PR agencies moving forward from just media relations and publicity into the realms of digital and experiential. We are communicators so it is all about creating those conversations across all different mediums.

  15. Preya
    14 Dec 11
    2:12 pm

  16. Hey Michelle and Simone – big congratulations from all the Zingers!

  17. Anyu
    14 Dec 11
    2:18 pm

  18. Congratulations! Well done!

    Go Edelman! Cracking news and very well deserved.

  19. Kimberley Lee
    14 Dec 11
    2:41 pm

  20. Congratulations Edelman! So very proud to have been a part of the Edelman family. Wishing you all the very best for a successful 2012.

  21. Mark Hass
    14 Dec 11
    2:56 pm

  22. Congratulations to all our colleagues at Edelman Australia. This is a great public acknowledgement of what those of us in China have known for quite some time. You are the BEST!

  23. Steve Fontanot
    14 Dec 11
    3:12 pm

  24. Big congrats to Michelle, Matt, Trevor and the team.


  25. Gareth Edmondson-Jones
    14 Dec 11
    3:20 pm

  26. Congrats Michelle! You just keep going from strength to strength. So happy for you!

  27. well done
    14 Dec 11
    3:22 pm

  28. Congratulations Michelle and Team! Very well deserved.
    H&K Australia was in a class of its own under your leadership. Edelman Australia has taken its place thanks to your hard work.
    Karma to WPP & Hill & Knowlton for their poor actions and lack of judgement.

  29. Jon Bisset
    14 Dec 11
    4:04 pm

  30. Congratulations Edelman.

  31. Simone Drewry
    14 Dec 11
    6:06 pm

  32. Thanks Tim,Robin and the Mumbrella team, this is a great high to end a great year on.

    The Mango team are a bunch of super bright, dedicated, creative souls who are a pleasure to come to work with every day. Thank you.

    Well done Edelman – it’s great to see a world leading agency brand turn around under Michelle’s leadership. Inspiring stuff.

    Go Stuart – you’re a legend, always happy to be on the same list as you.

  33. SvG
    14 Dec 11
    9:26 pm

  34. Great work – good to see Edelman back where she belongs in Aus!

  35. Tiffany Farrington
    15 Dec 11
    12:47 pm

  36. HUGE congrats to Edelman, Mango and Liquid Ideas! Shout outs to Matthew, Simone & Stuart who I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years, you make the industry proud. Pats on the back to you and your teams from all of us here at Social Diary.

  37. Wannabe Hip
    15 Dec 11
    2:48 pm

  38. Does anyone know if there is an industry website for PUBLIC RELATIONS?

    Something for PR that’s along the lines of Mumbrella / Campaign Brief / B&T / Adnews?

    I know Mumbrella out of the others mentioned above has more of a holistic marketing/media/ad & PR foci, but the others are more heavily focused on advertising.

    I’m trying to find Agency Rankings for Public Relations!

    Where does Porter Novelli rank?

  39. sven
    15 Dec 11
    3:18 pm

  40. @WannabeHip, you’ll never see a dedicated ‘proper’ PR industry website because there’s too many things the industry doesn’t want journos, activists and the general public to know. Even the established offshore titles like PR Week, O’Dwyers etc are pretty superficial. As for the high stakes, pointy-end of PR – lobbying/campaigning, corporate and public affairs and corporate finance – where the work is the most interesting, challenging and best remunerated…you’ll only read about that in the occassional AFR, SMH/Age, Australian or Crikey article and only because the firms operating in these areas are indulging in a bit of self-promotion. You’ll never read about this stuff on Mumbrella.

  41. Wannabe Hip
    15 Dec 11
    3:41 pm

  42. @sven Thanks for that info! That’s sad! But I guess kind of understandable? I’m of the opinion that sharing some is the best way to grow, as per what the advertising + periphery comms industry think?!

  43. twubs
    19 Dec 11
    7:18 pm

  44. This article fails to mention the former GM – Alex Kelly who was also instrumental to the success of Edelman in 2011.

  45. Stuart gregor
    19 Dec 11
    10:26 pm

  46. Well done Michelle and sim and your teams. As the humble small bronze medallist you two will have to buy me lunch in January, but as tim says you have to let me order the wine… Good on youse all, merry Christmas one and all