Burson- Marsteller ( BM short ) is a global public relations agency.

The company was founded in 1953 by Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller in the U.S. and currently operates in more than 50 countries. In 1979, the company was acquired by Young & Rubicam, which in turn was taken over in October 2000 by the British WPP Group.


Burson- Marsteller supports a large number of companies from the nuclear, aerospace, transportation, tourism, and in the consumer goods and IT industry. Its customers include companies HP, Novell, SAP, Sony Electronics and Microsoft. The company also advises governments and in the past, it also advised dictators like Nicolae Ceauşescu or Augusto Pinochet.

The company offers so-called crisis management. After Bhopalunglück, in which thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were seriously injured, supported Burson- Marsteller, the public relations of the chemical company Union Carbide. Furthermore, the company was responsible for the public relations of various retail chains, who wanted to recover as soon as possible after cases of Salmonella infections to their customers. BM continued to support a worldwide product recall action of mineral water manufacturer Perrier and advised the company McDonalds after the occurrence of the first cases of BSE.

The company has won more than 125 awards for his work in 2003. In June BM received the 2003 Best of Silver Anvil Award from the PRSA ( Public Relations Society of America ) for a campaign that the company had designed on behalf of the United States Postal Service. The American post- company had to fight after the anthrax attacks of 2001 with a loss of customer confidence.

Burson- Marsteller is also present in Germany since 1973 and currently has offices in Frankfurt am Main (head office), and Berlin. The German company is a limited liability company whose shares are 100% held by the Young & Rubicam Brands Germany GmbH (Frankfurt am Main). The sole managing director is currently Karl-Heinz Heuser, who had led the company until his retirement in 2009, together with Günter Knauth. Among the customers, the German Shell AG, is one of the BM, inter alia, Science Slams staged.

The Burson- Marsteller GmbH is member of the European Movement.

Criticism and controversy

The company will, inter alia, criticized because it was responsible for the public relations of different regimes and dictatorships, such as the Argentine military junta or the regime of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. According to Nina Katzemich of LobbyControl the company would stop at nothing. BM also get through collaboration with EU governments " numerous new privileged access" which would you allow " for further orders from customers in the private sector to money." Thus, the Agency had used, for example during the Polish Presidency of the EU as an advisor to the Polish government for not regulating fracking across the EU, but to promote. At the same time the oil company ExxonMobil was a customer of BM, which operates in Poland fracking.

Burson- Marsteller was also often targeted by environmentalists who accuse the company to operate on behalf of large companies propaganda for environmentally destructive and harmful projects and techniques. So BM helped establish the Global Climate Coalition, an advocacy group whose goal was to prevent government action to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide.

Burson- Marsteller also came in for criticism by the use of so-called Astroturfing, where the impression of a spontaneous grass -roots movement is simulated. Thus hired Burson- Marsteller in 1999 to a group of demonstrators who should be protesting for the use of genetic manipulation on behalf of the biotech company Monsanto. The incident became known after a New York Times report, which had interviewed some of the demonstrators.

In May 2011 it was announced that Burson- Marsteller U.S. had accepted a covert mission of Facebook for a campaign against Google with the help of seemingly neutral press reports. For example, a well-known American activist was contacted and asked to write a Google - critical commentary in several major newspapers for privacy of BM anonymous.

Also Burson- Marsteller was commissioned by Fraport AG, Lufthansa AG and Condor service to launch a counter-initiative to aircraft noise protests at Frankfurt Airport. The should be in the form of a counter-demonstration under the slogan 'yes' to FRA! carried out. The citizens' initiative aviation Offenbach described the collaboration as " scandalous".