Flak Attack

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Posts Tagged ‘press release

Bruno Punks PR

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O.J. was so innocent in his youth, huh?

O.J. was so innocent in his youth, huh?

Anyone see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest spoof, “Bruno”?


It’s the same shtick of stereotypical chicanery and pushing that envelope until everyone in the theatre gets paper cuts. With the exception of one thing, he punks some publicist hacks in Los Angeles.

Meet Duet PR and its founders – the self-dubbed “hot identical twins” Nicole and Suzie DeFosset, if you need them. (Again, meh?)

So, here’s Bruno gallivanting in their LA-based studio looking for insight on how to rock it Hollywood and get involved with charities.

The conversation that transpired was a microcosm of why some folks lump flacks into the same gene pool as used car salesmen and those guys who go door-to-door with lawnmower in-tow looking to make a few bucks.

Thanks to this Ecorazzi story, we have an excerpt from a Bloomberg review:

In America, Bruno has encounters with B-list entertainers, redneck hunters, bloodthirsty fight fans and a couple of airhead PR consultants who advise celebrities on how to boost their public images by supporting charities. (One of the flacks mispronounces Darfur and indicates that global warming is no longer buzz-worthy.)

Keeping it sooooo classy in So-Cal. Nice.

Aside from that, they couldn’t even find the Sudanese area on a map.

Well, since this wasn’t the most flattering appearance in Hollywood – their backyard to make a dime – the “blunder twins” put out this statement to continue their 15 minutes:

We just saw the movie and thought it was hilarious and Bruno is a comedic genius. We were directed on playing up the blonde roll (sic) and they definitely captured those parts! Like all reality shows it was cleverly edited and we are excited to be apart (sic) of a successful film.

Uh, yeah.

Well, true to form, the girls continued to play the “blonde roll” when they hit enter by misspelling a couple of words, misplacing a few commas and misrepresenting an entire industry.

There’s never a good media alert – or an AP style guide – around when you need one.


Newspeak, Doublethink and Other Bald PR Euphemisms

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George Orwell. Conspiracy theorist to some. Genius to others. Regardless, I dig his writing.

And I presume when he coined “doublethink” and “newspeak”, his crystal ball or tea leaves took him straight to some of the stuffy public relations executive boardrooms we have all been inside, yet, dare not discuss at parties.

Um, yeah... did you get the memo?

Um, yeah... did you get the memo?

Why? It would put people to sleep and cause them to nose dive into their onion ranch dip.

Can you imagine a tête-à-tête full of Orwellian psychobabble like “we need to be laser focused,” “move the needle” and “let’s create some synergy”?

Just writing those made me throw up a little in my mouth.

Well, thanks to the handiwork of David Meerman Scott (big marketing guy) and his “analysis of 711,123 press releases,” [what the…] we now have the list of the Top 25 Gobbledygook Words from 2008.

Some big players I have personally seen, begrudgingly and worked diligently to avoid are the following:

  1. [Very] unique
  2. Innovate
  3. New and improved
  4. 120 [or 110] percent
  5. Scalability

Now, there are some repeat offenders in my lexicon, such as commitment, partnership and leverage. But hey, sometimes it’s what works.

But these point to a clear source of angst among those we pitch in our fare burgh, there’s no need to trick up an e-mail, a release or even Web copy.

Journalists are searching underneath the cushions in their couch for good stories, but if they get pitches full of “strategery” and other Web 2.0, needle-moving,  and innovative words, they will get filed in that special bin and our clients won’t be discussed.

People get quoted because what they said works. Consider Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit” the next time you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.

And I could talk about that for hours, but only after I mix in a thesaurus.

Written by theflak

May 6, 2009 at 11:00 am