Purple Strategies

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Purple Strategies
Industry Public relations, Advertising
Founded 2008
Founder Alex Castellanos
Steve McMahon
Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Subsidiaries Citizen2
Website purplestrategies.com

Purple Strategies is an American communications firm headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia and founded in 2008. The name Purple Strategies reflects the company's bipartisan blend of strategists from both "blue" and "red" political backgrounds. Purple Strategies also operates a subsidiary, a reputation management firm Citizen2.

Company overview[edit]

Purple Strategies is a bipartisan communications firm that offers services in strategic communication, public affairs, issue advocacy, public opinion research, advertising, media relations and new media for corporations, trade associations and non-profit organizations.[1][2] Past and current clients include BP,[3] United Airlines,[2] NASCAR,[4] the United States Chamber of Commerce and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).[5]

Purple Strategies' principal partners include Republican political strategists Alex Castellanos, Bruce Haynes, and Robin Roberts, as well as Democratic strategists Steve McMahon, John Donovan, and Mark Squier.[1] The company is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia with additional locations in Chicago, Houston, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[2][6]


Purple Strategies operates Citizen2, a media company based in Chicago and the Washington, D.C. area specializing in reputation management and branding.[2][7] Citizen2 developed the "National Hiring Day" campaign for McDonald's in 2012, in partnership with the public relations firm Golin Harris International. The print, radio and social media campaign sought to add 50,000 employees to McDonald's workforce and featured profiles of real McDonald's employees.[7][8] In 2013, Citizen2 was hired by Coca-Cola to help the company join the national discussion about soft drinks' role in high rates of obesity in the United States. Citizen2 helped Coca-Cola create a television commercial highlighting the company's efforts to address obesity. The ad ran in the U.S. and Europe.[9][10]

Purple Advocacy is also a subsidiary of Purple Strategies, and specializes in government affairs, including lobbying.[1][11]


Purple Strategies was founded in 2008 by Alex Castellanos and Steve McMahon.[1] Republican consultant and strategist Castellanos merged his strategic communications company, National Media Public Affairs, with McMahon's Democratic firm Issue & Image, to create the bipartisan organization.[2][12] Bruce Haynes became the managing partner at Purple Strategies.[13] Haynes has explained that the merger was the result of the founding partners routinely meeting each other when pitching to clients. The partners decided they should combine efforts, blending the "blue" and "red" consultancies, to create a "purple" company.[1]

Early clients and projects[edit]

The firm's first major client was the United States Chamber of Commerce; in partnership with the communications firm Powell Tate, Purple Strategies developed the Chamber of Commerce's "Campaign for Free Enterprise" in 2009.[12] This was the largest campaign initiated by the Chamber of Commerce to date, and used advertising, digital outreach and grassroots campaigning to promote free enterprise in the United States.[12][14]

In 2010, Purple Strategies was hired by BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[15] Purple Strategies developed online, television, print and radio ads highlighting BP's cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, featuring a range of BP employees.[5][16] In late 2010, and throughout 2011 and 2012, Purple Strategies created additional television ads for BP featuring local business owners, detailing the progress made following the oil spill and promoting tourism in the Gulf of Mexico.[17][18]

Also in 2010, cable provider Time Warner Cable hired Purple Strategies to develop a response to a rate increase planned by News Corporation, the parent company of Fox Network, for Time Warner Cable's rights to offer the Fox broadcast channel in media markets across the country, including New York City. The resulting interactive campaign, titled "Roll Over or Get Tough", asked Time Warner Cable customers to help decide how the company should respond to the proposed increase. The campaign generated over 800,000 responses and drew media attention for the way that Time Warner Cable handled the dispute.[13][19]

Recent expansion and notable work[edit]

In 2011, Purple Strategies hired political strategist Rob Collins and Jim Jordan and expanded the firm's services by establishing a wholly owned subsidiary company, Purple Advocacy, to focus on government relations including lobbying and advocacy work.[1][11]

The following year, Purple Strategies hired Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's former communications director, Chris Mather, and expanded operations, opening an office in Chicago.[2][20][21] Following the company's expansion in Chicago, Purple Strategies was hired by Northwestern University in 2012 to assist with public relations around a planned construction project that had met with opposition from preservation groups.[21] A Purple Strategies-conducted poll of Chicagoans found that 72 percent approved of the university's plans,[22] which were later approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.[23]

Throughout the 2012 election cycle, Purple Strategies' research division Purple Insights, led by managing partner Doug Usher, conducted polling related to the United States presidential election, and regularly released the "Purple Poll", a survey of swing states.[24][25] Following the election, Purple Strategies placed 5th out of 28 organizations on Fordham University's list of most accurate polls.[26][27]

Late in 2012, Purple Strategies expanded into Pennsylvania, hiring former Pennsylvania House of Representatives member Dante Santoni and opening an office in Harrisburg.[28]

In March 2013, Purple Strategies acquired the polling firm Momentum Analysis, which is known for its research on "Walmart moms".[29][30] Momentum Analysis' founder Margie Omero joined Purple Strategies as a managing director of the company's research division, Purple Insights, continuing her research on female consumers.[29][31]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mike Allen (18 July 2011). "Rob Collins, Jim Jordan join Purple Strategies". Politico. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lynn Sweet (21 February 2012). "D.C. public affairs firm opening in Chicago". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Noreen O'Leary (9 May 2013). "Purple Strategies Hires From Burnett, Emanuel Team Chicago office expands". Adweek. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  4. ^ David Rogers (17 July 2012). "Lawmakers wheel on NASCAR". Politico. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Garance Franke-Ruta (4 June 2010). "Washington PR firms cashing in on BP spill". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Mike Allen (4 December 2012). "2016 BEGINS TONIGHT: Ryan, Rubio speak on upward mobility at Kemp Foundation dinner -- VandeHei, Allen column debuts: Behind the Curtain -- POLITICO promotions -- Al Hunt b'day". Politico. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Maureen Morrison (20 February 2012). "Is McDonald's Losing That Lovin' Feeling?". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Maureen Morrison (4 April 2011). "McDonald's Aims to Turn 'McJob' Image on Its Ear in Recruiting Effort". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Natalie Zmuda (14 January 2013). "Coca-Cola Addresses Obesity Head-on in New Ads". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  10. ^ John Reynolds (6 March 2013). "Coke to air UK anti-obesity ads". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Bill Allison (20 December 2012). "Hagel appointment would give some lobbyists a friend in the Pentagon". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Jaimy Lee (23 September 2009). "US Chamber awards largest campaign to Powell Tate, Purple Strategies". PRWeek. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Stephanie Clifford (24 January 2010). "Corporate Antagonism Goes Public". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Jim Snyder; Kevin Bogardus (13 October 2009). "Chamber makes push extolling 'free enterprise'". The Hill. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Jim Snyder; Kristin Jensen (17 June 2010). "As Outrage Grows, So Does BP's Adviser Crew". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Alex Pepper (4 June 2010). "BP Turns to Political Shop for $50 Million Ad Buy to Convince You the Company 'Will Get This Done' and 'Make It Right'". ABC News. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  17. ^ Rupal Parekh (23 December 2011). "BP Launching National Ad Blitz After Christmas to Tout Gulf Recovery". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "BP Provides Gulf Coast Update". CSPnet.com. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  19. ^ Lauren Collins (11 January 2010). "King Kong Vs. Godzilla". The New Yorker. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Rahm's ex-press chief lands herself a new gig". Crain's Chicago Business. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Melissa Harris (16 September 2012). "Who's who — and who's paying — in the Prentice preservation war". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  22. ^ Alan K. Cubbage (6 September 2012). "Polls Show Support For New Research Center". Northwestern University. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Kim Geiger (24 March 2013). "Northwestern gains permit to raze old Prentice hospital". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Alexander Burns (21 November 2011). "Poll: Mitt Romney's net unfavorability doubles in swing states". Politico. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  25. ^ Jennifer Skalka Tulumello (21 November 2011). "Poll: In 2012 swing states, Obama is tied with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Maura Judkis (7 November 2012). "Which election poll was the best?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  27. ^ Sougata Mukherjee (9 November 2012). "Final Election poll: Raleigh polling firm beats competition, says Fordham University". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  28. ^ Mary Young (5 January 2013). "Job change bittersweet for ex-Rep. Santoni". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  29. ^ a b Sean J. Miller (27 March 2013). "Purple Strategies acquires Democratic polling firm". Campaigns & Elections. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  30. ^ Carrie Budoff Brown (14 February 2013). "Walmart moms back Obama's SOTU plans". Politico. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  31. ^ Byron Tau; Anna Palmer (27 March 2013). "First in PI ... Survey: Nonpartisan image can pay off for corporations - Recess roundup ... Immigration, balanced budget, fiscal issues, etc.". Politico. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 

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