His Agency Made Wally Amos Famous And It Continues To Provide Positive Press For Clients!
© Brian O’Rourke
Chris Rosica graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate’s degree in culinary arts. At the age of nineteen, he started his own consulting business called Hospitality Consultants, Inc. He worked with restaurants on menu planning and helped to lower their costs. Rosica then went back to school and graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. He worked in marketing for the hotel and restaurant industry, gaining a solid foundation that would help him with his future endeavors.
Chris’s father, John Rosica, had worked in Public Relations and Promotions for years. He was responsible for making entertainers such as Hall & Oates, David Bowie, and Jefferson Airplane famous. John Rosica then went on to work with Wally Amos and the Famous Amos Cookie brand. His wife Marilyn, Christopher’s mother, joined him and went to work as Amos’s publicist. It was in 1980 that the couple decided to start their own PR agency with Famous Amos as their first client.
The agency grew under the direction of John and Marilyn until a few years ago when Christopher Rosica joined the agency. Rosica says that it was not an easy transition because he brought his own set of ideas and style to the table. Since he has been with the agency, however, the company has grown an average of 40% per year. When Chris first came on board, the agency had five employees. Currently, there are fifteen full-time employees and three part-time publicists.
Now called Rosica Strategic Public Relations, the agency ranks #2 in the State of New Jersey. Rosica says, “Growth has been very positive. We have had to move into larger locations twice since I have been with the agency. This is the third location I have been at in four years.”
The agency handles various promotional tasks for their clients, as well as full-scale PR campaigns. Rosica’s culinary background complements his ability to promote the agency’s food industry clients. Some of these include Keebler, Uncle Wally’s Muffin Company, Eggland’s Best, Big Bear Supermarkets, and S&H Greenpoints, formerly S&H Greenstamps. Other clients of the agency include Weekly Reader, Quest Communications, and Revlon. Rosica Mulhern competes against the top ten PR agencies in the U.S and worldwide. The agency differentiates itself in that Rosica and his team are able to penetrate 80% of every market that they enter. Thus, the “Strategic” part of the agency’s name. Clients’ stories are told through as much print and electronic media as possible. When a client is gauging a potential PR agency to work with, Rosica says that they first look at the agency’s team. Next, they look at the past successes of the agency and finally they want to see top-notch creative ideas. This is no problem for Rosica, where the average employee has twelve years of experience and its success is evident with the Famous Amos brand.
Rosica says that landing the S&H Greenpoints account was probably one of his agency’s greatest successes and most creative pitches. For the pitch, one of the employees agreed to be painted green. The prospective client was so impressed that they cut the meeting short and offered the account to the agency that very day. In terms of creativity, there are a number of efforts that stand out in Rosica’s memory. One of them involved installing a plaque in the cement sidewalk on the corner of Sunset and Formosa in Los Angeles. The plaque marked the first site of the Famous Amos cookie store that opened twenty-five years ago. It reads “Famous Amos Square.” The city’s mayor and national media attended the event.
Another of Rosica’s more memorable acts occurred with a campaign for Arcnet, an architectural and engineering firm in New Jersey that gave a new BMW to each of its employees. The company saved $600,000 a year by giving cars to its employees. The company also gained national media coverage on CNN. Rosica says that a typical workday involves a variety of tasks including: strategic planning, overseeing operations, new business development, client relations, crisis management, and cause-related marketing efforts. The last being one of Rosica’s key strengths. When John and Marilyn Rosica were first working with Wally Amos, they aligned him with the Literacy Volunteers of America. In turn, both the organization and the client gained a considerable amount of media attention.
Today, Rosica matches each of its clients with a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Clients are involved with causes such as breast cancer research, hospice care, and a number of other areas that they are passionate about. Outside of the office, Rosica keeps busy with a number of other activities. He is an interim teacher at Seton Hall, Fordham University, and Montclair State University. In addition, he attends the Sedona Round Table and is a public relations advisor to the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Rosica says that he has met a number of role models through his work with these organizations, but he still credits his father as the ultimate inspiration for his success. Rosica is also on the board of the New York City Chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization (YEO), where he met his personal mentor, a former member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Rosica says that he enjoys his involvement in YEO and the opportunities that it offers him to be creative immensely. “The educational and idea-generating aspects, along with the ability to reinvent myself and my company at any given time are very satisfying to me.”
In his free time, Rosica enjoys traveling. In fact, he claims to be as passionate about travel as he is about business. Rosica recently spent time in Italy and visited twelve cities in twelve days. However, Rosica’s first love is still New York City. In addition to traveling, he enjoys scuba diving and motorcycles. His pride is his Harley. In the end, however, Rosica says that the most important thing that has been afforded to him as a successful entrepreneur is the constant opportunities to be creative.
Ironically, one of the things that Rosica says his company neglects is its own PR. The story of how his agency made Famous Amos such a success without any formal advertising budget has not been widely told. “It has been too sporadic. We need to be more consistent. Cause-related marketing was a powerful tool in not only getting [Wally Amos] the original exposure, but maintaining the brand identity.”