Flak Attack

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

Posts Tagged ‘newspaper

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

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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.

Warren Buffett and his nail for the newspapers’ coffin

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Warren Buffett – he’s one of the most beloved philanthropists and investors, one of the richest dudes on the planet and a guy who knows a thing or two about newspapers.

The only place in America where the paper is still read

The only place in America where the paper is still read

Much to the latter, Buffett was quoted at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting discussing the recent plight of dwindling newspaper circulations and the fact America doesn’t fancy itself as a reading nation any longer.

“For most newspapers in the United states, [his company that dabbles in publications] would not buy them at any price,” he said in response to a question about whether he would consider investing in newspapers. “They have the possibility of going to just unending losses.

Talk about kicking the crap out of an industry while it’s down. Publishing magnates everywhere collectively inhaled and choked on their stogies when this quote went transcontinental.

So, how so, O’ Sage of Omaha? Well, to paraphrase Buffett’s street savvy, “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

As long as newspapers were essential to readers, they were essential to advertisers. But news is available in many other venues, such as the Internet, which means a dramatic drop in advertising revenue.

So, is this pandemic Google’s fault? Nah. It’s ours. Folk enjoy anything that can chucked into a microwave and bought at a drive-thru. Our quest of diversify our calendars has been the driving force to plunder newspapers everywhere.

We enjoy the Cliff’s Notes versions found online rather than sifting through countless headlines and ads to find just exactly where was the last place Brangelina or TomKat was seen in public.

Why look for the story when we can hunt for the Google images and copy that in our Facebook page? Who knows.

Written by theflak

May 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

Newspapers only wish they could print cash too

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So, eh, breaking news? Newspapers are closing their printing presses everywhere.

It’s not they are running out of ink or stories, just money. And so, publishers have been hurling their heads into their desks trying to figure a way out of this Internet mess.

Online NewsThen, without fail, faster than a speeding IRS agent, more powerful than a local blog and able to leap tall requests with a single check… here comes the U.S. Government, thanks to HuffPo.

Yeah, yeah. Get your barf bags ready and let’s say those two magical words together, “Bail. Out.”

Hosted by Sen. John Kerry, some of this country’s most influential publishers caucused on Capitol Hill with shades, a cane and a dirty coffee mug in-hand awaiting a hand out.

Among the blinder, publishing magnates were  James Moroney from the beleaguered Dallas Morning News, who claimed a “quasi property right” over facts that were being used for “commercial gain,” not by readers but by “someone else.”

Yeah, that’s called public information once it’s online, so I’m fairly sure that “someone else” would be every person who regretfully isn’t interested in buying a paper to see the advertisinguh, read the stories first-hand.

Why Kerry? Among the near-dearly-departed who be his beloved Boston Globe. So his impartial and unbiased interest in saving that paper is about as transparent as Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan being interested in the goings on of the automotive industry.

Ah, politics.

Now, Kerry and the gaggle of civil servants who gathered are looking into a proposal to steer around labeling it as a bailout – allowing papers become non-profit entities.

I wonder which of those former-writers-gone-publishers was responsible for that ironic twist. Hrm.

The Media Gets Wiki-Punked

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Wiki-ped-i-DUHWith the advent of this Internet thingy, more and more people are relying less and less on common sense and due diligence. They don’t research anymore.

Rather, at the last minute, they logon and frantically search for a Cliff’s Notes version of whatever it is that has them trolling Google pages 30 – 35 at 3 a.m.

Long gone are the days of the door-to-door Encyclopedia Britannica salesman. Today, it’s Wikipedia or bust.

The only problem with that is history is not the determining factor, people and their often misled opinions are.

How’s that working out? Glad you asked.

Meet Shane Fitzgerald, a 22-year-old sociology and economics student at University College in Dublin.

Shane was looking for a focus group on “the dangers of relying too heavily on the Internet for information.” His group? The world.

Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre died on March 30, and to commemorate his passing, Shane goes to Jarre’s Wikipage and invents a quote that was then used in major newspapers around the world. Nice.

It didn’t take Dr. Zhivago to figure out the ailment – the media got bamboozled because they collectively took a short cut to be the first to get a story out… and on Google.

Whoops.

There is something to be said for that ubiquitous horse’s mouth, even it did belong to a dead movie score composer.

Written by theflak

May 8, 2009 at 11:00 am

Stop the Bleeding

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ron-burgundyThere is a mantra in newsrooms across the country that often goes unsaid, but typically is unavoidable, “If it bleeds, it leads.”

There is a reason why those same nestling hubs of action are full of police scanners and not Disney movies – good news does not attract ratings. Because if it did, most news directors would be scouring the want ads.

Car wrecks, drug busts, City Hall squabbles and who’s doing well on American Idol. Now that’s entertainment… and depressing, which is one of the many reasons we see esteemed reporters racing to the PR side of the tracks.

However, from the “It’s about time” department is an article from PR Week showing a sudden new trend in the news – networks asking for “feel-good story pitches.”

You know Armageddon is upon us when assignment editors are pleading with the public to send them tips on Girl Scout bake sales, new puppies for adoption and anonymous donors paying some old lady’s bills.

Granted, these pitches will need to possess a tie to the depressing stuff, like the economy, but it’s a start for hemophiliac news networks, right?

Maybe the next overnight subject matter expert will hail from the corner office of the “Random Acts of Kindness” Foundation? Stranger things have happened.

BailOutBelo.com? I got dibs.

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Death... on crutches. That's about it for publishing these days.

Death... on crutches. That's about it for publishing these days.

Things are grim for publishers these days. Newspapers aren’t doing so well these days. Reporters are getting buyouts. Journalists are looking elsewhere for jobs. And subscriptions and advertisements blow. Bad.

As a matter of fact, media magnate and Dallas-based, A.H. Belo (parent of our Morning News and WFAA), just made $10 million in job cuts with no ceiling in sight.

It’s sad because some of those reporters “considering” career changes aren’t just colleagues, they are friends. Many of them leave without a fight because there is no one in the ring… except now, thanks to this story from PR Week.

In Minneapolis, spurned employees from the regaled Star Tribune are speaking out with the development of SaveTheStrib.com.

The paper recently filed Chapter 11, won’t make a dime this year and its circulation of 300,000 is probably bloated beyond I-just-ate-all-the-Thanksgiving-leftovers status.

As noted from the Web-based platform, “Help us build a compelling case for potential new ownership that Minnesotans believe, as we do, the Star Tribune is a vital part of our civic life.”

I applaud this effort and hope the Morning Newsers can do something similar, but one problem: There hasn’t been a viable post on the “Strib” in more than a week as of this post.

Kinda’ hard to be compelling when your writers aren’t compelled enough to roll over and turn on a laptop from bed on a daily basis. I’m just saying.