Zapwater Communications
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Holmes Report
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Zapwater Communications

Holmes Report

Since its launch five years ago, Zapwater Communications has made quite a name for itself in Chicago as a scrappy, creative publicity shop that delivers an impressive return on its clients’ objectives. Consider the endorsement of Chicago Tribune columnist Liz Crokin, who says: “Zapwater Communications is the one Chicago PR Firm I know of that is capable of turning its obscure clients into headline-making wonders almost overnight. Clients such as RiNo Lounge and Bella Lounge bleed all over the pages of my nationally published magazine and my weekly column on a consistent basis. [Zapwater’s] staff is competent, hip and friendly and they have never once failed to get me the information I need well before my deadlines.”

Clients are equally enthusiastic.


“Zapwater Communications has been the best public relations firm I have ever worked with,” says R.J. Melman, partner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. “From their creativity to their diligence, the whole staff is top notch.  We always feel like David and his staff is there for us, regardless of situation - large or small.  Zapwater has been irreplaceable to us for the launch of our new venture, Hub 51.” And Matthew McCahill, general manager of Chicago’s Crimson Lounge, adds: “Working with Zapwater has been instrumental to the success of not one but two lounge/nightclubs that I have run in Chicago. Their continuous effort to not only get the word out there about the venues, but to also bring business in through contacts of their own has paid for itself time and time again.”


And this year, after entering some its work in awards competitions for the first time, Zapwater can also claim the endorsement of industry peers, having picked up a Publicity Club of Chicago Silver Trumpet award in the governmental affairs category and two Bulldog Awards for its work in the travel, hospitality and destinations and best response to breaking news categories.


Founder David Zapater is the former group director for public relations at integrated agency Slack Barshinger, and his early focus was on the travel and leisure sector, representing many of the Chicago area’s top destinations and venues. But the firm has been expanding its focus, launching a corporate practice and a adding a new legal marketing practice in 2008, targeting small and midsize law firms looking to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Zapwater has also launched social media initiatives for the majority of its existing clients.


The firm saw 10 percent growth in 2008, to around $710,000, with new business in both the corporate and lifestyle practices including The Iron Horse Hotel, Gibsons’ Restaurant Group and Halo [For Men]. Highlights included the opening of R.J. and Jerrod Melman’s Hub 51 and the unveiling of the new Hotel Sax, including a two-day, 1,200-person unveiling event in March 2008 after a $30 million renovation.  

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