Steven W. Smith, Public Relations Luminary, Passes Away
Known for the Media Relations Launch of the First Animated Talking Toy, Teddy Ruxpin
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Public relations industry veteran and luminary, Steven W. Smith, passed away after following complications from heart surgery. With more than 50 years in the field, Smith was a passionate professional who brought years of experience and expertise to his clients. He is recognized for creating the public relations campaign that launched one of the most recognized toys of the ‘80s, World of Wonders’ Teddy Ruxpin.
Throughout his career, Smith developed and implemented hundreds of product publicity and marketing communications programs for major corporations as well as for entrepreneurial enterprises and served in senior management positions for top local and national public relations agencies including his own firm, Smith Public Relations, Allison+Partners, Saatchi & Sasstchi, Carl Terzian Associates, The Rogers Group and Daniel J. Edelman, Inc.
“Steven was a true professional,” said Scott Allison, Chairman and CEO of Allison+Partners. “When we started our company and opened our offices in Los Angeles, Steven joined our co-founder, Scott Pansky, and helped us grow the office bringing several of his team members and clients with him including Cakebread Cellars and the Blackhawk Network, formerly Safeway Gift Cards.”
Smith launched his first firm in 1984, representing companies such as Bandai, General Mills, Target, Nike, Home Savings and the World of Wonders. In 1989, Smith Public Relations’ Los Angeles and San Francisco offices were purchased by Saatchi & Saatchi to become part of their global public relations subsidiary. During his four years with Saatchi, Steven ran their West Coast operations serving as president and CEO. His clients included Mercedes-Benz of North America, Polaroid, Philips Consumer Electronics and KB Home.
He restarted his firm in 1992 as Smith Public Relations with companies including Mattel, McKesson Corp., Carl’s Jr., Best Buy, Vivendi Universal and Capitol EMI. He later joined Allison+Partners as a Senior Vice President 2002 and eventually restarting Smith Public Relations in 2008.
Earlier in his career, Steven served as executive vice president of Carl Terzian Associates where he developed that agency’s consumer product capabilities serving numerous companies including Coca-Cola Bottling of Los Angeles, Aspen Skiing Company, The Timberland Company and Target Stores. Other experiences included working as a senior vice president and founding principal of The Rogers Group and as a vice president of Daniel J. Edelman, Inc.
Smith was a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, where he served as editor of the Daily Sundial, and received numerous scholarships and writing awards during his collegiate career. Steven is survived by his son Todd, his sister Robyn Askenaizer, her husband Gary and sons Adam and Chris. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Steven W. Smith Journalism Scholarship at California State University, Northridge Foundation, 18111 Nordhoff Street – Valera Hall 110, Northridge, CA 91330-8296 or at https://engage.csun.edu/SmithJournalism.
Allison+Partners is a global marketing and communications agency driven by a collaborative approach to innovation and creativity. The firm was named by PRovoke Media as one of its Global Agencies of the Decade, North American Agencies of the Year and Best Agencies to Work For. The agency was also named by PRWeek as a Best Places to Work for four consecutive years and recognized as one of UK’s Fastest Growing Agencies. Allison+Partners operates in more than 50 markets around the world and is organized around five practices: Consumer Brands, Corporate, Reputation Risk + Public Affairs, Health and Technology. The agency’s Marketing Innovation Team, which combines brand strategy, integrated marketing, creative, research and measurement expertise into one offering, works across these practices to deliver integrated storytelling for clients. Allison+Partners is owned by Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), one of the fastest growing and most influential marketing and communications networks in the world. Agency partners leverage Stagwell’s technology, data analytics, insights and strategic consulting solutions to drive measurable results and optimize return on marketing investment for more than 1,700 clients worldwide. For more information, visit www.allisonpr.com.
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