2011 PR People Awards – Publicist of the Year

Winner: Phil Zimmerman

Senior Publicist, Jeopardy!/CBS Television Distribution

Answer: This man vs. machine TV event became one of Jeopardy!’s most publicized events in its 27-year history. Question: What is Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge. Phil Zimmerman’s work in positioning the historic Jeopardy! champions vs. IBM’s Watson computer was anything but robotic. Working closely with IBM and Jeopardy! execs, Zimmerman secured 92 broadcast and 65 top-tier print interviews, and developed dozens of ideas that inspired jokes on every late-night and daytime talk program. —SVC

Who is smarter, Watson or Alex Trebek?
“While Watson is fast on the buzzer, I’m going with Alex.”

PR TD Most Proud Of:
“My biggest PR accomplishment was making Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge a major television event and a part of American pop culture. The producers created such a unique competition, and together we developed a well-orchestrated PR campaign that slowly built up to the historic television event.”

In 2012, PR will:
“Increasingly move into the digital and social media space. It’s essential for every PR professional to not only be savvy in this ever-changing area, but recognize how traditional media helps support your message.”

Hometown: Hometown, PA
College Attended: Lycoming College (Bachelors of Arts); University of Waikato, New Zealand (Masters of Arts)
Number of Years in Communications: 9 years
Favorite Sport to Play: Swimming, jogging
Athlete Who Most Inspires You: Dara Torres
Favorite TV Show: Parenthood
Favorite Movie: The Social Network
Favorite City for Business Travel: Washington, DC
Best Way to Unwind from PR: “Travel. I also really enjoy writing about my experiences since it takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to interact with locals and observe details I’d otherwise never notice.”
Recent Business Book You’ve Read:  The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy, by Bill Carter
Starbucks or Dunkin’? "I never let my Starbucks card out of sight!”


Honorable Mentions:

Joseph Cohen, Group Vice President, MWW Group: Known for his ability to “live the 24-hour news cycle,” Joseph Cohen and his team’s Mother’s Day Spot a Mom campaign for 1-800-Flowers.com was recognized as one of the year’s best.

Jessica Kleiman, VP, Public Relations, Hearst Magazines: Kleiman oversees PR for iconic media brands Cosmopolitan, ELLE, O, The Oprah Magazine and Esquire, as well as their digital counterparts online and in the mobile space.

Stan Rosenfield, President, Stan Rosenfield & Associates: On top of representing past and present A-list clients like De Niro, Clooney, DeVito and Sheen (Charlie), Stan Rosenfield has shared his vast entertainment PR knowledge with students at UCLA, USC and Loyola University.

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