MIAMI—rbb Public Relations, the independent South Florida agency created two years ago when Christine Barney bought the former Rubin Barney & Berger firm back from Weber Shandwick Worldwide, is merging with local sports marketing specialist Alan T. Brown Associates to create a $3 million firm.
rbb has a blue-chip client list that includes MasterFoods USA, Florida Power & Light, Verizon Wireless and The Florida Bar. Brown’s current clients, which will follow him to the new firm, include the Downtown Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, Microsoft X-Box, Woodlands Country Club and Jay Fiedler’s Reach for the Stars Foundation.
Brown will close his firm’s Hollywood office and become a vice president in the Coral Gables offices of rbb. A former director of PR and celebrity endorsements with SlimFast, Brown had worked with celebrities including Tommy Lasorda, Kathie Lee Gifford, and six NFL coaches. He has also worked with the Florida Marlins and NASCAR.
The principals told local business reporters that the deal would provide rbb with additional expertise in the sports and event marketing arena, while giving Brown the opportunity to focus on account acquisition, with rbb staff servicing the business he brings in. A quadriplegic since 1988, Brown said he wanted to let go of the day-to-day running of his business.
Since parting ways with Weber Shandwick, rbb has signed a number of alliances, including one with Cynthia O’Connell, a marketing executive in Tallahassee with strong government marketing experience, and another Aaron Lee, owner of A-Lee Designs, to handle Web-based and interactive marketing.
“We were looking to get into the entertainment-oriented business area,” Barney told reporters. “Alan’s sports and promotions business will help us deepen our experience in that area, and help our corporate clients looking for better counsel there. Our strengths are in the corporate area and a lot of these people want sponsorships.”