Founded in 2009 by veterans of the previous year’s successful Obama presidential campaign, Bully Pulpit combines Washington policy smarts, Madison Avenue creative, and Silicon Valley tech savvy. Still perhaps best known for its political work—it continues to handle electoral campaigns—the firm has expanded well beyond that realm and now provides public affairs, issues management, and corporate reputation counsel to a broad range of companies, associations, and senior executives.
Bully Pulpit has offices in Washington, DC (HQ), New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
An election year will always provide a boost to a firm like Bully Pulpit—and in 2020 its extensive work for the Biden-Harris campaign undoubtedly helped its numbers—but even so, it grew from a little more than $30 million in 2019 to more than $43.6 million in 2020, an outstanding performance and testimony to the firm’s ability to help clients address the big challenges. New business came from corporate clients such as General Mills, Patagonia, S&P Global; progressive groups such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and the Georgia Democratic Party, for which it handled the crucial Senate run-off.
Founder and president Andrew Bleeker led digital marketing strategy on both Obama campaigns, having previously led the global digital practice at Hill+Knowlton, and many of the senior leaders at BPI worked on Obama campaigns or in the administration—including Ben LaBolt, who joined as partner when Bully Pulpit acquired The Incite Agency in 2016, and Paulette Aniskoff who led the White House office of public engagement. New additions in 2020 included former Obama press secretary and McDonald’s CCO Robert Gibbs as senior counsel, and Xochitl Hinojosa, a veteran of the Democrative National Committee as managing director.
Thought Leadership & Work
If there was a major headline-making story in 2020, Bully Pulpit was involved, from the presidential campaign and the Georgia run-off election to the Black Lives Matter movement (advising dozens of companies on how to take a stand on a powerful emotive issue and working with the ACLU and The Leadership Council) to the Covid-19 crisis, where it worked with AT&T to provide technology solutions to kids learning from home. BPI also worked with Walmart on its corporate reputation, and with leaders such as Indra Nooy and Michael Bloomberg. In all cases, the firm brought an intellectual approach that combines the substance of public affairs with the creativity of marketing and the data savvy of the tech sector—an approach that ought to deliver equally strong performance in non-election years.
— Paul Holmes