Flak Attack

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

Posts Tagged ‘technology

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.

Women talk more… and now it pays off

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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

Walter Cronkite: And that’s the way it was

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Without a doubt, there will be memorials into perpetuity because this brilliant reporter and sage of the airwaves was finally overcome by his illnessesand there should be.

Walter CronkiteHowever, what’s lacking is Walter Cronkite’s legacy upon those talking heads giving the homage to the iconic CBS veteran.

This was “the most trusted man in America” for decades, and today, who in the world would allow a single news anchor to even babysit their kids?!

National news is pathetic regardless of where your TV remote finds you. There is no joint broadcasting, tiered openness or unleavened bias anymore. One network touts our president as “sort of God” and the other may as well accuse him of being Rosemary’s Baby.

Long gone are the days when you can turn on an evening news report and rest assured with all the facts to know that’s the way it is.

You know if the Edward R. Murrow disciples these days want to show any respect to Cronkite, consider this: the greatest tribute they can pay him is actually broadcast like him.

Whether you were old enough to see it live, or had a professor show you in school, most of us flacks have seen the regaled Cronkite announcement of JFK’s death.

You couldn’t tell if he was a gun-totin’ member of the GOP or a tree-hugging member of the Democratic Party. Why? It didn’t matter. He was there to report the news, not opine on political dissuasion.

Cronkite was the progeny of a soon-to-be extinct breed – trusted news anchors who valued integrity on facts rather getting hits on Facebook because of their misguided conjecture.

No, now you have to sift through the empty rhetoric, political bent and flat-out mudslinging to get any “facts” these days.

Godspeed, Walter. The media has become unceasingly sorrier since you left it. And now that you have left us, so will we become.

And that’s just the way it is.

Is Chik-Fill-Ay Killeng Mahdern Grammer?

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Since the inception of text messaging, people have been looking for easier ways to communicate. Whether they can’t spell or just believe acronyms are the new black in language, text lingo became all the rage.

But thanks to the hoofy-work of some milk cows (beef cows don’t have utters, just saying), we have a completely new debacle – vernacular has not only become initialized, but also minimized.

“Eat More Chikin” has done more than become an anthem for healthy eating (and a lovely “Ka-ching” for the franchise), but has created a trend we can see everywhere including on TV.

Sure, cows can’t spell. I get that. Cute. However, TV execs are becoming more and more bovine everyday with moronic advertising.

Kinda like one of those dieting commercials, ain't it?

Kinda like one of those dieting commercials, ain't it?

Any science fiction fans caught the latest moniker for the signature network of Trekkies? This week, it changed its name from Sci Fi to SyFy.

What a stretch of marketing dollars that was. As if that wasn’t enough fodder for the phonetically challenged, we have their half-baked tagline, “Imagine Greater.”

What’s that? A middle finger of one-upsmanship to Steve Jobs and his “Think Different” moniker?

I suppose this imbecilic concoction makes sense if you review most TV networks these days.

  • The Learning Channel became TLC, showing learning is really about tender loving care
  • žAmerican Movie Classics is AMC, and now adulating praise to a failed cult-classic automobile
  • žEven CNN got in the mix with Headline News vacillating into HLN

What’s next? The History Channel becoming “THC”? Well, that would work if it weren’t for the hippie lettuce heads out there.

So, the next time I hear someone exclaim “OMG” in a sentence or I read “What’s Nu” in a text message, I will think back to America’s favorite chikin joint and blame those billboard-painting, high-flying cows.

Written by theflak

July 24, 2009 at 8:00 am

Hey reporters, call me. Please?

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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.