Crisis PR spinmeister Mike Sitrick is accustomed to advising clients before they talk into microphones. But in recent weeks, Sitrick himself has been on the airwaves, pitching City National Bank.

The ads are part of a campaign by City National to position itself as a bank that caters to business customers, and manages finances for corporate executives and their families. Also featured in ads are powerful bankruptcy attorney Michael Hennigan, former bank executive and photographer Fred Roberts and Catalina Express founder Greg Bombard.

For Sitrick, this is a first.

“For so many years I’ve been the one telling the client what to do when on the air, so it was quite a bit of fun to be on the other side,” Sitrick told the Business Journal. He said he had no problem applying to himself the advice he has so frequently given his clients over the years.

Sitrick said some of his friends and business acquaintances were a bit surprised to see or hear him on the air.

“I’ve been called the Wizard of Oz, or the man behind the curtain. So yes, several people did call me and say it was quite unexpected,” he said.

One other difference: Sitrick said that unlike media appearances he might make on behalf of a client, City National did not pay him for these ads.

Skin Deep Devotion

When it comes to showing devotion to their company, most executives are content to own a coffee mug or don a polo shirt with their business’s logo. Jared Reitzen got a tattoo.

The chief executive and founder of mobileStorm Inc., Reitzen got a tattoo of his company’s logo – a twirling tornado – on his right ankle.

“I thought what’s more meaningful than the logo of my company which is a testament to all the hard work I’ve put in and how to build a business,” said Reitzen, 32. Plus, he added, “it’s a pretty cool tat.”

Reitzen is trying to inspire similar devotion among the 50 employees of mobileStorm, an e-mail and Internet marketing company in Van Nuys. He’s offered $1,000 to any worker who also gets a tattoo of the company logo.

“A woman in sales offered to get one on her lip,” Reitzen said. “But that disappears in two years. It has to be visible.”

It’s been two weeks since Reitzen issued his challenge, and already he’s being forced to pay up: A mobileStorm customer satisfaction representative said last week that she would get a tattoo of the logo on her wrist.

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