Marquee Clients, Agency of the Year Awards, Key Role in Growth of Raleigh Distinguish FWV After Two Decades
RALEIGH (March 30, 2017) – French/West/Vaughan (FWV) one of the nation’s largest independently-owned public relations, advertising and digital marketing agencies, celebrates its 20th anniversary this week, a milestone that comes as the company makes its debut among the country’s top 15 PR firms.
The recently published 2017 O’Dwyer’s Ranking of Top U.S. PR Firms places FWV at No. 14 nationally and No. 1 in the Southeast, a position it has occupied for nearly 15 years. Among the top agencies, FWV ranks second in both Beauty/Fashion and Sports Marketing, sixth in Entertainment Marketing and ninth in Travel/Tourism and Economic Development. The agency’s work in Agricultural, Food & Beverage, Home Furnishings, Professional Services, and Environmental/Public Affairs also earned category rankings in the top 20.
FWV holds the distinction as the only N.C.-based integrated marketing firm to earn Agency of the Year accolades in the public relations industry – something it has accomplished on eight different occasions. In addition to four separate AOY honors in 2016, FWV was a finalist for 2016 Global Consumer Agency of the Year (Holmes Report) and was ranked in the Top 10 of the 2016 Global Creative Index. The agency also captured a North American Innovation SABRE Award on behalf of long-time client Wrangler in the Digital Brand Platform category, beating out global firms Edelman and Weber Shandwick for top honors.
Headquartered in Raleigh, FWV employs over 100 associates, including staff in its New York, Tampa and Los Angeles offices. The firm is led by its founder, Chairman and CEO Rick French, together with partners David Gwyn, president, and Natalie Best, executive vice president, who was honored by PR News in January as one of its 2017 Top Women in PR. Over two decades, FWV has represented iconic brands like Wrangler, Coca-Cola, Jack Daniels, Slim Jim, Justin Boots, Pendleton Whisky and many others, including the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bassett Furniture, Saft, ABB, Teen Cancer America and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
“It’s always interesting to look back at where we started 20 years ago and appreciate all the great work from our associates over the years, and the amazing clients we’ve had the pleasure to work with,” said French. “Some of those clients that were with us in 1997, like Wrangler, are still with us today, and that makes me extremely proud of the service we provide and the relationships we have built. Being one of the early pioneers of the revival of downtown Raleigh is also very satisfying as the city, and downtown in particular, continue to grow into a world-class metropolitan area. We love having our home office here, and we’re thankful for all the partnerships we’ve made as we look ahead to an exciting future.”
Founded in 1997 as Richard French & Associates, the agency rebranded as French|West|Vaughan following the acquisition of Durham ad agency West & Vaughan in 2001, launching a new hybrid firm combining PR, creative services, advertising, digital marketing and social media. French has been recognized both locally and nationally for his PR leadership and philanthropy. In both 2015 and 2016, he was named to the PR Week list of the 300 Most Influential Communicators Worldwide. He has served on the PR Council board of directors and co-chaired the Public Relations Society of America’s board of ethical practices and standards.
Locally, French has chaired the Greater Raleigh Sports Council, Downtown Raleigh Alliance and has served on the boards of, and raised funds for, more than a dozen other community organizations. He frequently appears on CNN and other broadcast networks to discuss reputation management issues, and is known for successfully expanding the influence of FWV through his endeavors as a professional baseball franchise owner (Daytona Tortugas), a trustee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and as a film and television producer.
FWV seized a significant growth opportunity in 2016 with the acquisition of Fetching Communications, a leading pet and veterinary PR and marketing firm based in Tampa, Fla. As FWV Fetching, a wholly-owned unit of FWV, the new division capitalizes on Fetching’s reputation as an innovator in the pet-related consumer products and pet care industries, complementing FWV’s expertise in the equine and consumer lifestyle categories and pushing annual agency billings to approximately $25 million.
About French West Vaughan
French West Vaughan (FWV) is one of the nation’s leading public relations, public affairs, advertising and digital media agencies, with offices in Raleigh, New York City, Los Angeles and Tampa. National, international and local clients represented by the agency include Wrangler, ABB, Hood River Distillers, Melitta, NATHAN, Fleet Feet, Concord Hospitality, Peter Millar, Paralyzed Veterans of America, International Gemological Institute (IGI) and Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants. FWV is a partner in IPREX, the $200 million network of communication agencies, with 1,500 staff members and 100 offices worldwide. For more information, please visit www.fwv-us.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram.