Case Study

JTI – Media Relations

back to case studies


Since 2014, DVL Seigenthaler has been the public relations partner of JTI, Inc., a three-person international consultancy firm that advises large, multinational organizations on anti-corruption and ethics programs and policies, business and public sector strategies, and corporate communications. Its CEO and co-founder, Jeffrey Thinnes, wanted his firm to hold its own among the giant consulting firms that dominate this space.

Challenges / Objectives / Implementation

DVL Seigenthaler developed an aggressive, replicable media strategy dependent on speed and designed to overcome the biggest obstacle to landing high-level media opportunities—a relatively unknown client with very limited experience in providing public commentary, and limited awareness of the company among national- and international-level media. DVL Seigenthaler developed and executed a media program to expand JTI’s national and international awareness to increase business opportunities, speaking engagements, and JTI-led client training sessions. We designed and implemented an international trade and mainstream media relations program intended to increase Thinnes and JTI’s visibility to position his team as the equal of larger firms, but more insightful and forward-thinking.

Jeff’s impressive background and presentation skills were ideal for him to become an expert source. Thinnes, who has dual law degrees in the U.S. and Europe and has lived and worked abroad extensively, was particularly passionate about international sports. He is knowledgeable about ethics and compliance issues in this arena, having helped to develop ethics programs for Olympic athletes and International Olympic Committee board members.

Allegations of corruption regarding FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, were rampant. We seized opportunities to involve JTI in breaking news, particularly with those reporters and editors located in the United States and Europe that were covering FIFA or other governing sports bodies, like the International Association of Athletics Federations or International Olympic Committee.

In 2015, a major story broke that would dominate headlines worldwide throughout most of the year and into 2016: the FIFA bribery scandal, involving match-fixing, extensive bribes and kickbacks, money laundering, illegal collusion between it and various governments worldwide, and key stakeholders buying World Cup votes with enormous amounts of money and personal favors.

With DVL Seigenthaler’s assistance, reporters began seeking Thinnes out for quick responses to the latest developments.


Less than two years later, Thinnes has become one of international media’s most sought-after sources on sports corruption and corporate scandal, and his firm’s reputation is solidified. In an eight-month period beginning in late May 2015, DVL Seigenthaler secured expert interviews for JTI on the FIFA scandal that resulted in:

  • five segments on CNN International
  • three segments on Voice of America
  • three articles in the International Business Times
  • two articles each in The New York Times and
  • one segment each on National Public Radio (NPR), PBS’s “The Charlie Rose Show” and “60 Minutes Australia”
  • one article each in the BBC, Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, and Compliance Week