California High-Speed Rail Authority says Buh-bye, Ogilvy

Steve’s breakdown: This is one of those wrong-place wrong-time situations for Ogilvy. They hired an ad agency and what they need is “a new partner that will show initiative, actively counter oil-company-induced misinformation with facts, and inform Californians of high-speed rail’s transformative benefits for our economy, environment and quality of life.” Sounds like PR to me.

SACRAMENTO, CA: Ogilvy is supposed to be a reputable communications firm. Yet for the past year and a half as the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s agency of record, it stood by tongue-tied as a vocal group of high-speed rail opponents found every which way to disrupt the authority’s mission to implement the will of the voters.

Paid lobbyists for the oil companies have gone on radio and television shows reciting deceptive talking points, like calling the Central Valley segment a “train to nowhere.” Not true. The Central Valley, home to 6.5 million people, is just the starting point for a statewide system that will enable Californians to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 21/2 hours.

And let’s not forget that even as high-speed trains run on electricity, they are still trains. Long before the whole system is completed, the trains can slow and continue on Amtrak’s existing tracks to the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

High-speed rail is California’s future. The end of the Ogilvy partnership is an opportunity for the authority to bring on board a new partner that will show initiative, actively counter oil-company-induced misinformation with facts, and inform Californians of high-speed rail’s transformative benefits for our economy, environment and quality of life.

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