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Waggener Edstrom Communications

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Waggener Edstrom Communications
Founded 1983
Number of locations
19 offices
Key people
Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO
Revenue $115.8 million (2012)
Number of employees

Waggener Edstrom Communications is a Seattle-based public relations firm often associated with its largest client, Microsoft. The firm was founded in 1983 by Melissa Waggener Zorkin and Pam Edstrom. It acquired Maloney & Fox in 2003, Shout Holdings in 2004, Patzer PR in 2012 and Buchan Consulting also in 2012. Waggener has six practice areas for different segments, as well as a digital arm called Studio D, programmers and video producers.

The firm provides PR support for Microsoft's Windows, mobile and server divisions as well as its corporate communications. It has also done work for Segway, Xerox and Sony.


Waggener Edstrom was founded in 1983 by Melissa Waggener Zorkin and Pam Edstrom.[1] Pam previously worked for Microsoft, which became one of the agency's first clients.[2]

The firm acquired in 2001 and renamed it to OnPR, which later separated from Waggener in 2005.[3] Later that year, the firm acquired consumer PR agency Maloney & Fox after working jointly with the firm on several Microsoft projects, such as the launch of Windows 95 and MSN internet services.[4] Waggener Edstrom also moved its headquarters that year from Portland to Seattle[5] and opened new offices in San Francisco,[6] Paris,[7] and Boston.[8][9] The following year Waggener Edstrom acquired Hong Kong-based Shout Holdings, which was renamed to Shout Waggener Edstrom.[10][11] Waggener opened an office in Brussels in 2006 in order to support the European Union.[2] Waggener's Brussels office was later closed in March 2011.[12]

Waggener experienced substantial staffing changes in 2009. There were several senior-level departures.[13] To support the firm's digital practice, David Patton from The Wall Street Journal was hired,[14] as well as David Mahlman and Jean-Louis Robadey.[1][15] In 2010 and 2011 Waggener Edstrom opened offices in Africa,[16][17] Delhi,[18] Bangalore and Mumbai.[19] In May 2012 Waggener acquired Patzer PR, a Munich-based healthcare consultancy.[20] After the founders of Maloney & Fox departed, the brand was merged into Waggener Edstrom in 2013.[21]


Waggener Edstrom has seven practice areas, including Healthcare, Public Affairs, Brand Strategy and Technology.[22][23] The firm's consumer work is sometimes done in partnership with Waggener's subsidiary, Maloney & Fox.[24][25] It also has an analyst relations division that was formed in 2010[26] and a Social Innovation team supports social issues.[27]

Waggener's digital arm was founded in the early 2000s as Studio D.[12] The digital division has a programming team that's developed social media measurement and management applications like the Social Influence System (SIS), News Stream,[28] Ripple Effect,[29] Narrative Network[30] and twendz pro.[31][32] It also created mobile apps for the SXSW conference from 2011 - 2013.[33][34][35][36]

Waggener Edstrom has won the Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America and five Bulldog Report awards.[37] In 2010 it was called the Technology Agency of the Decade by The Holmes Report.[38]


CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin (at left) in Ethiopia - 2011

Waggener Edstrom has a reputation as a good place to work.[13][39] In 2002 the agency had a turnover rate of less than 20 percent, compared to an industry average of 50.[13][37][40] The firm allots 16 hours a year to each employee for a charity of their choosing.[13] One percent of the firm's revenues are donated to charity and Waggener matches donations by employees.[41] Waggener has supported initiatives to reduce hunger,[42] mentor under-privileged students in Africa,[26] and provide education to underprivileged girls in southern Ethiopia.[43]

More than 80 percent of Waggener's revenue is from international accounts[1] and most of its clients use its partnership program to hire affiliated agencies for certain regions.[44]

Notable clients and campaigns[edit]

Waggener Edstrom is often associated with its work for Microsoft,[45] one of Waggener's first clients and its largest budget account as of 2003.[4] Waggener supports Microsoft's corporate communications as well as the Windows, mobile, and servers divisions, and business units in Hong Kong and Europe.[46]

In Waggener's early years, its relationship with Microsoft led to it working primarily with other technology companies, before expanding into healthcare, consumer and other sectors.[47] In 2002 the firm helped AMD introduce its Opteron and Athlon microprocessors.[48] Miscommunications were exposed between Waggener, Microsoft and the media in 2003,[49] when Waggener and Microsoft told press conflicting stories about whether an announcement of a technology-enabled porta-potty was genuine.[50][51]

Segway recruited Waggener in 2007 to execute a new strategy of selling Segways as an alternative to golf carts.[52] That same year, a Waggener employee accidentally sent Wired journalist Fred Vogelstein his own thirteen-page briefing sheet. The document included commentary about his reporting and interview style being "tricky" and "sensational...though he would consider them to be balanced and fair."[53][54][55] Since 2008, Waggener has supported Mercy Corps on a pro-bono basis. CEO Waggener Zorkin took on the client after visiting the Good Shepherd orphanage in Ghana.[41]

The firm won Expedia and the Make-a-Wish Foundation as clients in 2009.[56] In 2011 Waggener successfully predicted that The Hurt Locker would win Best Picture at the Academy Awards based on an analysis of tweets[57][58] using its Twendz pro application.[59] Waggener also began working with Xerox that year to promote the company's back-end office services and to change their image as a company that primarily does copy machines.[60] Some of Waggener's other notable clients include T-Mobile,[61] Toshiba,[62] Boeing, Mastercard[10] and Sony Electronics.[63]


  1. ^ a b c "Melissa Waggener Zorkin, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide". PRWeek. July 1, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Pasiuk, Laurie. Vault Guide to the Top Advertising & PR Employers. VAULT. p. 144. 
  3. ^ "OnPR spins out of Waggener Edstrom". Portland Business Journal. February 4, 2005. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Gordon, Andrew (October 31, 2003). "Maloney & Fox is Bought by Waged for Viral Expertise". PRWeek. 
  5. ^ Strom, Shelly (October 30, 2003). "Waggener Edstrom quietly moves HQ". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Waggener Edstrom adds Northern California office". Portland Business Journal. September 2, 2003. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Waggener Edstrom adds Paris office". Portland Business Journal. October 2, 2003. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Gordon, Andrew (May 26, 2003). "Wag Ed to Open in Boston Despite Slump". PRWeek. p. 5. 
  9. ^ "Waggener Edstrom Opens Boston Office". Portland Business Journal. May 19, 2003. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Murphy, James (May 20, 2005). "Waggener Edstrom in buy-out of HK's Shout". Media: Asia's Media & Marketing Newspaper. 
  11. ^ "Waggener Edstrom buys Asian PR firm". Pudget Sound Business Journal. May 16, 2005. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Waggener Edstrom. (2012). PRWeek (U.S.), 15(5), 42.
  13. ^ a b c d "Waggener Edstrom Worldwide". May 1, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ Chupick, Jason (April 3, 2009). "WSJ’s David Patton Joins Waggener Edstrom as EiC of Studio D". PRNewser. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  15. ^ Chupick, Jason (October 28, 2009). "Waggener Hires Pact CEO Jean-Louis Robadey". Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  16. ^ Sudhaman, Arun (March 8, 2010). "Waggener Edstrom opens in South Africa after Microsoft win". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Waggener Edstrom Worldwide opens with Microsoft win". March 1, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ Shuffler, Jason (November 18, 2010). "Waggener Edstrom opens office in India". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Waggener Edstrom Worldwide opens offices in Delhi and Bangalore". Campaign India. November 17, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Wag-Ed Acquires German Healthcare Firm Patzer". The Holmes Report. May 31, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ Kiefer, Brittaney (December 10, 2012). "Waggener Edstrom to Fold Maloney & Fox Brand". PRWeek. 
  22. ^ What We Do, Waggener Edstrom, retrieved January 30, 2013 
  23. ^ Chupick, Jason (June 23, 2009). "Survey: 86% Feel Corporations Can Address Social Issues". PRNewser. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ Shah, Aarti (June 10, 2009). "Toshiba selects WE as AOR". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ Daniels, Chris (December 3, 2009). "UPDATED: Tupperware selects Maloney & Fox for a contemporary edge". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Waggener Edstrom Worldwide partners with the University of Johannesburg". February 9, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  27. ^ Schneiderman, Matt (Aug 4, 2009). "Change your career from: Media". Time Out New York. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  28. ^ Maul, Kimberly (April 14, 2010). "Waggener Edstrom launches social integration products". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  29. ^ Krietsch, Beth (May 12, 2011). "Waggener Edstrom releases Ripple Effect tool". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  30. ^ Burns, Enid (September 8, 2006). "Waggener Edstrom Bends An Ear to Online Chatter". ClickZ. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  31. ^ "PR Innovation of the Year 2010". PRWeek. March 11, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  32. ^ Shah, Aarti (November 17, 2009). "WE launches Twendz upgrade for professionals". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  33. ^ Garcia, Tonya (March 15, 2011). "WE Showcasing Its Digital Tools at SXSW". PRNewser. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  34. ^ Dredge, Stuart (March 14, 2011). "The 20 mobile apps riding the new wave of location innovation". The Guardian (London). Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  35. ^ Hernandez, Brian (March 8, 2010). "Tweet-A-Beer Lets You Buy Drinks for Twitter Pals". Mashable. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  36. ^ McCue, TJ (March 6, 2013). "Hey Big Fish - South By Southwest - What To Do If You Are Not Going". Forbes. Retrieved April 15, 2013. 
  37. ^ a b WetFeet (2008). Careers in Advertising and Public Relations. WETFEET, INC. pp. 56–. ISBN 978-1-58207-815-1. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  38. ^ "PRWeek Global: Global Agency Report Card 2010". PRWeek. October 29, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Agency Report Card > Waggener Edstrom". The Holmes Report. The Holmes Group. February 23, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Waggener Edstrom among 'best PR agencies to work for'". Portland Business Journal. April 28, 2003. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  41. ^ a b Wilhelm, Steve (July 13, 2008). "A grateful Melissa Waggener Zorkin helps Mercy Corps". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Waggener Edstrom reaches globally to combat hunger". PRWeek. December 12, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  43. ^ Maul, Kimberly (September 23, 2010). "WagEd partners with Mercy Corp in Ethiopia". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  44. ^ Woods, David (January 25, 2011). "Waggener Edstrom Worldwide promotes UK tech head to global alliance director". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Huge companies need as much PR". CNET. September 11, 1996. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  46. ^ Gordon, Rose (June 1, 2009). "Simon Sproule crafts a new story for Microsoft". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  47. ^ "25. Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO, president, and founder, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide". PRWeek. July 1, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Waggener Edstrom lands account of Advanced Micro". Pudget Sound Business Journal. September 27, 2002. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  49. ^ Gordon, Andrew (May 19, 2003). "Microsoft and Wag Ed Tell Conflicting Stories about ILOO". PRWeek. p. 3. 
  50. ^ Richman, Dan (May 13, 2003). "On-again, off-again iLoo is off for good". Seattle Post-Intelligencer Report. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  51. ^ "Oh, It's Not a Hoax: MS ILoo". WIRED. May 13, 2003. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  52. ^ O'Connor, Clare (September 14, 2007). "Segway hires Waggener Edstrom for UK comms". PRWeek. p. 14. 
  53. ^ Macropoulos, Angela (April 3, 2007). "Misfired memo reveals tabs kept on journalists". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  54. ^ Vogelstein, Fred (March 27, 2007). "Microsoft Sends Secret Dossier on Reporter, to Reporter". WIRED. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  55. ^ Arrington, Michael (March 28, 2007). "Microsoft Accidentally Sends Secret File On Journalist, To That Journalist. Oops.". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  56. ^ Krietsch, Beth (December 14, 2011). "Make-A-Wish hires Waggener Edstrom for website work". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  57. ^ Bishop, Todd (March 8, 2010). "Twitter analysis accurately predicted big 'Hurt Locker' win". BizJournals. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  58. ^ Loh, Larry (March 5, 2010). "The Twitter crystal ball -- 'Hurt Locker' or 'Avatar' for Oscar Best Pic?". CNN. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  59. ^ Toto, Christian (March 3, 2010). "'Hurt Locker' rules (according to Twitter)". The Washington Times. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  60. ^ Luker, Sara. "Xerox UK & Ireland hires Waggener Edstrom to lose the 'just a copier' tag". PRWeek. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  61. ^ "T-Mobile displays its strong sense of touch". PRWeek. August 1, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  62. ^ Garcia, Tonya (February 15, 2012). "Women Leaders in PR: Melissa Waggener Zorkin Focuses on ‘Building a Fine Company’". PRNewser. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  63. ^ "Waggener Edstrom Wins Sony Electronics Account In Singapore". The Holmes Report. April 17, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 

External links[edit]