Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Four Good Tips to get the Most out of your PR Agency Relationship

Jennifer Walzer posted an interesting article yesterday on The New York Times' website, about what she's learned in three months of working with a PR firm.

I have to admit that, before I read the piece, I held my breath.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I don't know the firm she's working with - Springboard (They seem to be hip, and all.) - but clearly Walzer has discovered that hiring a PR firms isn't outsourcing.  Just the opposite.  It takes time and effort to make the relationship pay off.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Sydney Oprah House

In case you've been under a rock, Oprah is taking her audience to Australia in December.  Really, she's taking the whole world - because that's her television reach.

At first, I thought it was a bit much, but then I learned the Australian government is footing the bill.  Brilliant publicity for a mere $3,000,000 (not sure if that's US or Aussie dollars).  The amount of exposure Australia will get will far exceed the investment.  If you take a look at some of what they've tried in the past, this move is simply brilliant.

An Interesting Take on the Mosque Near Ground Zero

Here's an interesting take on the mosque to be built near Ground Zero: it's not going to happen because it's essentially a publicity stunt.

Commentator David Frum posted his take on this back in August.  If he's right, it's brilliant.  Controversy is always good for generating discussion and look at how much time we're wasting talking about it!  I mean, even President Obama has decided to comment, elevating the whole thing well above where it should have stayed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Reports of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated

Mark Twain was correct.  Simon Dumenco is not.  In his recent rant at adage.com, Simon informs us the press release "officially died" this past summer.  It's interesting to read the handful of comments.  All of them are negative.  A quick Google check shows articles as old as four years ago heralding the end of press releases.

That's interesting, because clients still ask for them and, oftentimes, issuing press releases makes sense.

Now, let's be fair to Simon.  His recent post talks almost exclusively about "celebrity" America.  His logic shows fault with his assertion "As the celebrity-industrial complex goes, so goes the rest of corporate America."  While it makes perfect sense for celebrities and their followers to talk in 140-character snippets, doing so when you have something of substance to say is irresponsible.

So, perhaps companies will tweet about earnings and whatnot, but most likely, such tweets will refer followers to a URL where they'll be able to read - wait for it - a press release with the news.

UPDATE - John Mayer has now declared Twitter as "over."  Now what will we do to communicate?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We all make mistaks

I remember once, as a kid, seeing a very brief news item about a traffic sign, painted on the road, warning drivers they were entering a "school zone."  School, was spelled "sckool."  Funny enough to make the six o'clock news.

But, could such a thing possibly happen on a national level, causing embarrassment, say, to one of the nation's institutions of higher learning?

It did.  The poor folks at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, allowed their PR team to put in motion a campaign around the notion of "D+."  The "plus" is to signify an advantage of some sort.

The campaign was "designed to catch the attention of high school students" who may find it difficult to differentiate among the countless come-ons they receive from prospective colleges.

I bet it's succeeding.

I have to admit, from a high school perspective, it's kind of funny.  In an email defending the campaign, survey results are carefully drawn out to show that target audiences found the campaign interesting.

A few thoughts:

1.  I think the concept would work much better if it was tongue-in-cheek, as in: "Now that we have your attention, here's why Drake is a good school for you."

2.  The problem is in taking it seriously.  Only compounding the challenge is that school officials now need to explain the campaign to faculty and staff.

3.  If the campaign was designed to simply increase awareness and cause people to talk about Drake, they've already succeeded.

If you take a look at the firm that created the campaign, you see right away this doesn't appear to be a fly-by-night or a bunch of idiots who don't know what they're doing.  Part of the execution seems a bit off, but other than that, if Drake is smart, the school can make lots of hay out of this.

And, after all, that's what this is about.