Its digital arm set off sparks for clients as wide-ranging as L’Oreal, Taraji P. Its DKC/O M entertainment division reps Andrew Lloyd Webber, Second City and hot Broadway tickets like Naomi Campbell to ex-California first lady Maria Shriver to agitpop screamers Prophets of Rage.It’s not all about celebs: the Brands division sprinkles stardust on clients like Pepsi, Activision and Samsung, who seriously needs it.Momentum, ambition and the guts to back it up make HL Group our agency of the year.A longtime giant in fashion and luxury PR, HL has transcended those roots to become a generalist firm on steroids—a force in corporate, tech, lifestyle, crisis and even brand strategy.For every celeb brand like Drake’s October’s Very Own and Gwyneth’s Goop, there’s an investment group, litigation client, sports organization, media brand or charity event getting Hiltzik’s guidance.
It’s also been the big dog in several proxy fights, repping i Robot, Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings and Cabela’s.And VOWEL, the agency’s digital influencers arm, has been killing it on social for clients like Audi—its amplification of a story around Audi’s rescue of a desert-stranded couple was genius. And a landmark strategic alliance with Germany’s Hering Schuppener vastly expanded Finsbury’s global reach.Shari Redstone kicked ass in the Viacom wars, and Finsbury had her back through it all. (former Sony Pictures PR head Charlie Sipkins) and D. starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone going for the gold.The firm also counseled Al Jazeera through its US shutdown (quite sagely) did what it could to help Volkswagen through its disaster and shepherded the NBA Players’ Association through its collective bargaining talks. On the talent side, the firm handled the masterful rollout of longtime client Lady (“Call me Joanne”) Gaga’s new album and persona. Ryan Lochte: Matthew Hiltzik’s clients make headlines, but sometimes not the way they want to.But its biggest get was Fox News host (and Donald Trump’s BFF) Megyn Kelly. It’s Hiltzik’s less heralded campaigns, however, that reveal how much juice his agency has acquired—and in how many directions its influence spreads.