|Ronn D. Torossian|
August 25, 1974 |
Brooklyn, New York
|Employer||5W Public Relations|
|Known for||Founder of 5W Public Relations|
|Title||Chief Executive Officer|
His public relations firm, 5WPR, was ranked the 24th-largest public relations firm by net fees in the US in 2013, with revenues of about $16 million. As a public relations executive, he is known for his aggressive tactics, which have won him both opponents and supporters. Torossian has also written the book For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.
Torossian was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in The Bronx and attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City. While at SUNY Albany, Torossian became national president of the North American branch of Betar, the international Zionist youth movement associated with Israel's Likud party. After college he moved to Israel, and co-founded with fellow Betar members and current members of Knesset Danny Danon and Yoel Hasson an organization called "Yerushalayim Shelanu" (Our Jerusalem), which promoted Jewish settlement in Eastern Jerusalem. He returned to the US after a year and a half.
Torossian began his career in public relations in 1998, working with then New York City Council speaker Peter Vallone, Sr. during Vallone's trip to Israel. He also worked for the Likud Party in Israel.
Torossian founded 5WPR in 2003, and led it to be the 24th-largest public relations firm by net fees in the US in 2013. He became known for his aggressive PR style; the New York Times called him "brash and aggressively outspoken".
Torossian's political work has included various interests in the former Yugoslavia, including Serbian President Boris Tadić and the Albanian American Civic League, in Lebanon and elsewhere. He has worked in the former Soviet Union, including representation of Maira Nazarbayev, the wife of Bolat Nazarbayev (brother of Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev), Vitaly Klitschko during his candidacy for Mayor of Kiev, Ukraine and representation of Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine.
Torossian's PR agency, 5WPR, grew from two employees in 2003 to about 90 in 2012. Initially known for representing celebrities such as Ice Cube, Lil' Kim, Sean Combs, Snoop Dogg, and Pamela Anderson, the company's client base has broadened to include major firms such as Anheuser Busch, Barnes & Noble, Coca-Cola, Evian, McDonalds and Microsoft; religious personalities such as Benny Hinn and John Hagee; and organizations such as the American Bible Society, the Likud Party of Israel, Regent University, and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. 5WPR has also represented such well known brands as Girls Gone Wild, Gray Line Bus Tours, Gummi Bears, and LifeStyles Condoms.
Torossian's aggressive PR tactics have won him both praise and criticism. Business Week called him "loud, crass, buzz-obsessed... The Bad Boy of Buzz." Atlantic Monthly writer Jeffrey Goldberg called him "the most disreputable flack in New York", particularly criticizing his representation of what Goldberg called the "lunatic fringe" of right-wing Israeli politics. Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan wrote that Torossian "embodies the public’s worst ideas about what a PR person is: loud, brash, more flash than substance, dirty, manipulative, amoral, and, in the end, not particularly bright.”
On the other hand, clients have cited his "unlimited energy" and his unique approach to public relations as reasons for hiring him. Jameel Spencer, former CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment-affiliated Blue Flame Marketing and Advertising, called Torossian "one of my most trusted business counsels," A The Jerusalem Post profile of him cited his "meteoric rise in the business world today". Another client compared Torossian to former basketball player Dennis Rodman, whom "Everyone hated to play against. But if he was on your team, you loved him". A Forward story said, "His aggressive style may not always be pretty, but the results speak for themselves."
Some commentators see Torossian's style as a sign of the times. He is "one of the New Yorkiest practitioners of this quintessentially New York profession... the consummate scrappy publicist"", wrote the New York Times. Businessweek wrote, "Torossian has anointed himself the brash new face of PR ... echoes the raw, unvarnished discourse of the blogosphere... Few seem better equipped to navigate a celebrity-obsessed culture."
Achievements and recognition
- 2006 – Advertising Age "40 under 40"
- 2007 – PR Week "40 under 40"
- 2010 – Semi-finalist, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year
- 2013 – PR Communications or PR Executive of the Year, American Business Awards – Torossian was honored with a Silver Stevie Award on June 17, 2013 
- 2013 – Public Relations Agency of the Year, American Business Awards – 5W Public Relations was honored with a Gold Stevie Award on June 17, 2013 
- 2014 – Public Relations Agency of the Year, American Business Awards – 5W Public Relations was honored with a Bronze Stevie Award on June 13, 2014 
- 2014 – PR Communications or PR Executive of the Year, American Business Awards – Torossian was honored with a Bronze Stevie Award on June 13, 2014 
- Kurutz, Steven (February 20, 2005). "Brash P.R. Guy Grabs Clients, Ink". The City (The New York Times). Retrieved September 5, 2008.
- "Public Relations Firms Rankings – 2010 Worldwide Fees of Independent Firms With Major U.S. Operations". J.R. O'Dwyer Company. March 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- "Business Books Top Five US". Shanghai Daily. June 12, 2012.
- Popper, Nathaniel (April 2, 2004). "Publicist scores with rappers, right-wing politicians". The Forward.
- "World Zionist youth movement – Home". Betar. September 23, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Popper, Nathaniel (August 28, 2009). "Birthright Scored for Picking P.R. Firm Tied To Scandal, Hard Right Politics". Forward. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- "Special Report – 40 under 40: Ronn Torossian". Adage.com. Advertising Age. August 7, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Herskovits, Beth (March 10, 2005). "Lebanese organization challenging Syrian occupation taps 5WPR for strategic counsel". PRWeek US (subscription required). Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Info – US lobbyists work for both sides". B92. October 26, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Fenton, Reuven (July 10, 2001). "$20M apt. 'thief': I’m still happily married to Kazakh accuser". New York Post. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- "5W Public Relations". Holmes Report. October 1, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Jim Edwards (12 January 2012). "What It's Like To Work Inside New York's Most Aggressive PR Spin Machine". Business Insider.
- by Bloomberg Businessweek (2007-11-11). "The Bad Boy of Buzz and His PR Problem". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 2014-03-24.
- "5W Public Relations: Agency Business Report 2012". PRWeek US. August 28, 2012.
- "Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Awards Category Stevie Award Winners". Stevie Awards. American Business Awards. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
- Brady, Diane (November 12, 2007). "The Bad Boy of Buzz and His PR Problem". Businessweek.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (October 27, 2008). "The Jewish Extremists Behind "Obsession"". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
- Wheaton, Ken (March 10, 2008). "Ronn Torossian: No Poster Child for PR Industry". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
- Nolan, Hamilton. "Famous Publicists: Self-promoting publicists and clients who love them". PR Week. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
- Blum, Ruthie (August 5, 2009). "One on One: 'It's all about shaping a story'". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- "40 under 40". PR Week. December 3, 2007.
- "Ronn Torossian Named 5W Public Relations CEO selected as semi-finalist for Ernst and Young". Eturbonews.com. April 27, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2012.