Flak Attack

If it’s in the news, the Flak attacks!

Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

It’s official: PR makes advertising its Bee-yatch

leave a comment »

Advertising Age recently published its findings and waxed melancholy about the state of advertising in the second half of 2009.

To summarize, take this as a warning-slash-really-bad-pep-rally for the industry:

It’s not getting a lot better, but at least it’s not getting any worse. And it probably won’t ever get back to where it once was.

Communications

I think it makes sense now. Don't you?

What’s this say to clients and other company’s creative types who us flacks want to love so, so much (call me)?

Find different ways to get in front of your target audiences. You know, do something you’re not currently doing to change the profits from going lower than the president’s approval ratings. (Hey, just sayin’.)

Does Ad Age have any recommendations? Glad you asked:

We found that there are pockets of strength: online and PR, for example.

So, why the change? Typically, it was make a logo and sand blast that on any embankment, billboard and mode of public transportation within a 5000-mile radius of your corporate office.

Well, that swooshing sound of all your cash going down the toilet has something to do with it. Couple that with the lack of interest in print products for anything outside of lining bird cages and creating cozy comforters for the homeless and you have an answer.

People have to look for not necessarily inventive ways to reach their target base, but definitely optional ways to sustain that catchy new mark.

Without a skilled PR campaign attached to a brand that directs folk to a billboard, or the very reason behind said advertisement, what good does it do the company? How long will it last? And where can find an ROI with a two-week blitz for a poster seen in your local parking garage?

Sure, some sleuth reporter will bump into the ad and write a story, but without a high-performance Web site or a strategic PR campaign, that story will have the longevity of “Jon & Kate: the Divorced Years” or new Coke (woof!)

“We are seeing a paradigm shift in our industry taking place as agencies grapple with how to deal with the new realities and manage costs to revenues. The industry is in for a fundamental, enduring reset over the next 10 years,” said Jim Heekin, chairman-CEO, Grey Group.

I like that – “new realities”. You know, billboards and print are still tangible but there’s this Internet thingy that’s really catching on.

I once heard in “Advertising 101” (not sure if that’s the real name):

Advertising is what you pay for, while public relations is what you pray for.

Anyone in the corporate arena wanna come with me to church this Sunday? I’ll drive.

Advertisements

Women talk more… and now it pays off

with one comment

BlogHer at WorkFor years, statistics have shown women talk more than men. No big surprise, but now it seems to be working.

Thanks to Kara at All Things Digital,the women’s blogging network, BlogHer, just received a lovely $7 million in Series C funding (whatever that is, but it’s a nice big, floppy check they can’t take to a bank).

“This is a true grassroots effort that shows the growing influence of women in social media,” said [BlogHer CEO Lisa] Stone. “We want to focus on taking advantage of that growth and momentum with this new funding.”

$7 million can create quite a whirlwind of momentum. And if you think women talk three times as much now, just watch them chatter a monsoon now.

The Web site for Woman Power is cleaning up more than a good portion of cash. The 30-employed-person haven is now attracting the eyes of 14 million women globally per month.

It has attracted Hollywood sponsorship, notable brands and nationally regaled conferences. And now, they have gone completely social on Twitter with more than 9,000 followers.

That said, there was one troubling quote:

While it is not yet profitable, Stone added, BlogHer is ahead of its internal financial projections, and “I hope next year I can raise a glass of champagne to meeting that goal.”

A salty million-dollar underwriting and still not profitable?! What? There’s not a sale or something to push that over in the black?

Well, whatever the case, speak on women of the world. The buzz is paying off.

Written by theflak

August 5, 2009 at 9:00 am

POTUS Beer Run: This Bud’s not quite for you

leave a comment »

Nice. It even has a logo. (Not really)

Nice. It even has a logo. (Not really)

So “Beer Summit 2009” took place in the back of the White House last night.

You know, I’m sure Barack Obama put out the Chex mix, peanuts and badly cooked Vienna sausages to give it that feel from “Cheers.”

And so we have the President, Dr. Gates and Sgt. Crowleyand Veep Biden (?!) … all hanging out like a bunch of guys on a weekend pass fresh on the heels of some Amway convention.

Just look at them. How staged was this dumb thing? It’s been in the news for more than week and there’s not even a pool table or a jukebox blaring “All My Exes Live in Texas.” What gives?

Evidently “Happy Hour” wasn’t so happy. Sad, you try to get a few dudes together to play beer pong and quarters and now the Congress and national media get involved. No fun. And spin control at its finest. Yawn.

As if the outdoor-lounging, suit-wearing, Biden-interrupted toast to nothing was bad enough, we have another national debate sparked out of what beer should be shotgunned… er, sipped out on the White House lawn.

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

This country’s deficit is going the way of U.S. War Bonds, swine flu is killing everyone but pigs and then there’s that government-run health care idea, and this is what this tool thinks is most important?! Shilling for the president to slurp on a Sam Adams?!

So, for those dunderheads keeping score at home:

POTUS: Bud Light
VPOTUS: Bucklers
Gates: Sam Adams Light
Crowley: Blue Moon

And after the round of suds, what happened? Did Crowley show Gates more moves he learned at the police academy, slamming his grill in the rose bushes outside? Did Gates get so hammered, he began giving Obama nuggies? Did Biden… well, he always looks that way. Nevermind.

Let’s put the brakes on this ridiculous news cycle, everyone. Back to running the country. Places!

Written by theflak

July 31, 2009 at 9:06 am

Internships: The new interview?

leave a comment »

NEWS FLASH: The economy blows.

And besides the current 8.6 percent in this country who are feeling it the most, quite possibly no other audience has more to hurdle than the broad jumpers currently graduating college.

Think about it: they are unproven, they have no contacts, they have nothing to fall back on and… that resume? Woof.

What’s a graduate to do in this profession, and in this market?

Answer: Become an intern – anywhere!

The class of 2009 is ready, willing and able, so why work for free? How do they make it?

According to this article from San Bernandino Sun, those questions are considered in-between cramming for finals and those drunken stupors allegedly dealt with on a bi-weekend basis.

“It’s exciting to be graduating, but very frustrating,” said Christina Dudley, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Cal State San Bernardino in June. “It makes you wonder if it’s even worth it going to school all these years, paying all this money and then not being able to find a job to pay back student loans.”

No kidding.

The article continues to discuss the deft trifecta these students are facing:

  1. The job market blows as much as the economy does.
  2. Consider the usual competition for PR jobs, now multiply that by 10.
  3. The market sucked last year too, so all those graduates are still looking for a gig.

Which leads me to internships. Sure, you may have to get a part-timer sacking groceries, but interning creates four magic words on a resume your diploma can’t buy: “On the job training.”

More and more, agencies have a need at the assistant account executive or account coordinator level but are waiting for the summer months to hire. No, not at your level but that one intern who will do everything, get everything, help everyone and be happy doing it.

Agencies don’t have the cost of benefits and stil get a hungry person willing to show off a little to get a little. And possibly a lot more in the fall. Yes, that’s why!

Interns get their foot in the door, develop a new skill set not foreseen during semester mid-terms and get a lot closer to a managing director than your resume ever will.

So, if you’re out there, fresh hair cut, creased pants, diploma in-hand and still without the job, consider the intern. I’ll bet more of them get hired in the next coming months than more of you.

Written by theflak

May 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hey reporters, call me. Please?

leave a comment »

If you consider what flacks like me do for a living, it’s a viable question.

We spend hours noodling on that finely crafted pitch, attempting to personalize it with a back story and customize it with our own sense of dazzling wit. And then, as we hold our breath and squint out of one eye, we hit “send” and off it goes… will it return, who really knows?

I know odds are not good we get that return call, but what’s a flack to do? Quit? Stop trying? Anything?

Plenty, based on this brilliant read from “The Bad Pitch Blog.” It seems I’m not alone with my discombobulated woes.

Probably my former GM. His other car said "Move the Needle".

Probably my former GM. His other car said "SYNERGY".

According to the sage authors here, the reason media types don’t call us back is because most of “us” aren’t answering the effin’ phone. And why?

Too much of a good thing, in this PR practitioner’s opinion?

Think about it. We have a voice mail at work and on the cell. Some have an e-leash… sorry, a Blackberry. And now, there’s our LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

All those meetings. All those clients. And then, some adoring member of the media has the nerve to return your message.

Sure, you screen your calls. Who doesn’t? But if you aren’t holding true to a 24-hour return call policy, you need to consider a new line of work. I don’t know, like Toll Booth Operator.

You see, most spin doctors I know who don’t return calls are the type to pitch at 6:00 p.m. and file the report, “Called but no return message.”

It’s the personal interaction that scares the bejesus out of some in this vocation. To which, I say get over it. It’s in the job description.

Sure after-hour calls, e-mails, tweets and an impersonal LinkedIn message is contact, but all hail the days when all we had were phones and those antiquated answering machines.

These days, hitting “7” ad-nauseum is so much easier to clear your calendar for that new business tee time, isn’t it?

Listen, if you are one of these media habitues who live on Caller ID, consider the economy, answer the phone and who knows… you may enjoy the interaction. Just a thought.

Glenn Beck thinks ACORN is nuts

leave a comment »

ACORNAmerica has been on a tilt-a-whirl of historic presidential elections lately. We have gone from a hanging chad to the least popular guy getting the gig and most recently, massive voter registeration fraud to get their guy in the White House.

Recently, said insolvent ne’er-do-well spokesperson Scott Levenson from ACORN was a guest on the Glenn Beck show where they candidly and energetically discussed the dead people registered to vote, identity thieves hired to do to the registering and the maladroit fumblings of “partiality” ACORN exercises.

I mean it is voting after all. You would think some of that should be unbiased. Just a skosh?

Although Beck took Levenson for a trip around the block with his obtuse analogies, Levenson left the FOX studios knowing one salient truth – fire his crisis communications trainer.

Talk about a complete dolt. From fighting the caloric intake of gas Levenson injested trying to block the crap hurled in his direction to his hyper mumbling about the 2008 election and harangue of non-answers, this guy looked like a fool.

Beck lights him up with, “You sir, and your organization, are bad for America.”

Suddenly, stumbling and bumbling mouth retorts:

“You’re just afraid of black people.”

Yeah, because that’s about as classic as “I know you are but what am I” and “Your mama.”

And then, in sweet fashion, Glenn Beck gets to gloat by chunking Levenson out of studio. If you are so inclined, the entertaining reparte is here, and Beck’s bragedocio is below. Watch this peacock strut. Good for a giggle.

“The Rocket” Blasts Off in the World of PR

leave a comment »

Sooner or later the light bulb goes off, pops loudly because it’s been eons since anyone flipped the switch and then troubled people and organizations finally call a PR or marketing agency.

Roger Clemens kindaTake Exhibit A, Roger Clemens: owner of seven Cy Young awards, two pitching “triple crowns”, two World Series rings and a medicine cabinet chock full of ‘roids… allegedly.

Thanks to the infamous Mitchell Report, Clemens’ Hall of Fame career has been put in question, haters abound and MLB journalists have all but written his baseball obituary.

Well, “The Rocket” had that Thomas Edison epiphany and called a reputable PR firm to help him bat away the negativity – Levick Strategic Communications SVP Gene Grabowski.

Sure, it took awhile but at least he is fighting back with more than a sword in this gun fight.

How so? Clemens is in good company because his new PR guy [a stud in the industry and former “Burson Person” if you need him] has been called upon for quotes on other troubled athletes – Alex “A-Roid” Rodriguez and Michael “That’s not mine” Phelps.

Nice.

Hopefully, the spin on Clemens’ personal allegations won’t drive him dizzy. The hectic schedule on his media tour probably is taking care of that part already.