Monday, December 29, 2003

What's Going On?

The days of the pork fried rice and the chicken wingscoming to your house five years is over - Jin

Recently, Brent Batten at the Naples Daily News wrote an off-the-cuff column about a rap concert that was canceled in his hood. As you can see, Batten is what I like to call Wonder - as in white as Wonder Bread.

Was Batten's column in bad taste? Probably, and he did apologize for it.

Does it warrant the outcry it has received, such as this column from the St. Petersburg Times? Absolutely not.

While the column may be in bad taste, what the biggest brouhaha seems to be is that Batten is white. What differentiates his column from the hip-hop drive time shows in EVERY city in the country. As you can tell from my postings, I am an Old Skool rap lover - grew up with NWA, Run DMC, LL Cool J and my XMas wish list includes a copy of Krush Groove. But, the hip-hop drive time shows make me sick to my stomach.

The drive time personalities are like Stepin' Fetchit and Amos 'n Andy shows, but is it excusable since the personalities are minorities? I hope not - but the fact seems to be that people will turn a blind eye to the drive time personalities since they are minorities catering to their own communities.

A classic refrain from the late, great Marvin Gaye seems to capsulate my thoughts - what's going on when one person is attacked for a parody, but there seems to be no outcry for degrading and stereotyped radio personalities?

Friday, December 19, 2003

Somebody's Watching Me

Somebody's watching me through Google - my first stalker!

The terms used were my name, wife, and pop public relations - all in quotes, so you know this person isn't a Web amateur.

Apparently they want to know if I have a wife, which I am not sure is a good thing or a bad thing. And, no, I am not terribly paranoid, although I do think you are all plotting against me. ;-)

The classic 80's hit from Rockwell seemed appropriate for this post...

Pay for Play Given The Gas Face

Today, the SJMC's Dan Gillmor posts about pay-for-play television spots, and has a billious reaction to the revelation that pay for play happens.

Just some quick thoughts on the subject....

Producers that I have worked with in the past KNOW that such feeds are pay-for-plays, and to think otherwise is quite naive. What's the statistic, that close to 80 percent of what's read in the papers / magazines, or seen on TV news is public relations generated? This is not much different.

It's a long standing practice, as noted in the article, and my first thought reading the NYDN piece was what was the vendetta against this one toy expert. Why did the reporter target the Toy Guy? Without thinking too hard, I can name six people that do pay-for-play television and radio for companies.

To take it a step further, is this much different than a journalist with preferential treatment from a company because the understood relationship is that if reporter A does not get the scoop, he/she will work over the company?

Or, how much different is this than giving a reporter a sneak preview because of a long-standing relationship? Should the reporter have to let his readers know that "I have had a working relationship with Company Z for a decade and they always give me product first and ask for my thoughts, and it may temper my article, etc."

For the readers, would it be best for every reporter to identify the public relations firms that pitched the story they are writing?

Thanks to 3rd Bass today...

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Express Yourself, just be smart about it...

When does off-the-record ever work in an email? Um, hello?!? It's an email, which already means its in written form and easily disbursed.

So, the Kerry campaign got burnt by the New York Times, with a "background" email.

Come on people, it's PR 101. If you have a juicy piece for an OTR (not that anything is ever off the record), call up the reporter. Or, IM the reporter and have them call you.

Sending a background e-mail without getting agreement from reporters first is just bush-league. No pun intended.

And, gotta love Dre and Ice Cube to talk about Expressing Yourself in a smart way ... .

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Reminisce Over You

A shout out to Pete Rock and CL Smooth's TROY, but with POP! Public Relations looking over the past year at public relations in Arizona. It ain't pretty, but it's odd.

1. I could start with my fun with IABC, the argument that ended with the comment that Phoenix does not want to be like Minneapolis, St. Louis or other mid-sized cities with good PR reputations. STILL trying to wrap my mind around that one.

As the great Stan Lee noted, 'Nuff Said.

2. Or, I could start with the lack of local companies using local public relations firms, and then them paying big NY or LA bucks for okay results.

There are many large firms in Arizona, that are spending massive amounts of money with Los Angeles or New York offices of international public relations firms. Recently, one such company - that has an in-house group of 5 - spent $75,000 to open a store in Times Square. According to the PR Week article, the biggest want was Daily Candy. Daily Candy is cool, very cool, and just got bought by Bob Pittman. But, how about a little outreach to local firms in Times Square - my friend works in the area, and had no clue that this store opened. Come on, a little PUBLIC in the PR, and reach out to local business?

3. Or, I could start with local companies just not understanding public relations and refusing to pay what it costs for a good, comprehensive campaign.

I have been in conversations with a few local companies, and they really don't understand the value of public relations (then again, the European companies I talk to have the same cheap quality, but at least they are charming). There are two companies in particular that I washed my hands of - they both have great stories (in different industries), it would be relatively easy to get national press, but the corporations will not spend the money needed to tell the story. And, I'm sorry, I'm not going to devalue POP! Public Relations and take less money for a good program.

4. Or, I could start with a local tech firm that decided to plaster Fast Company's Fast 50 with executives, ending up nominating more than 5 different executives for the same category.

My immediate thoughts were that either the PR firm did not have control over the nominating process, or the executives themselves decided to post themselves, or that the internal PR person, with the firm, decided the best strategy was to post as many people as possible. It gets worse, though, since there are options to post comments. Here's a little helpful hint for PR firms and junior people - do NOT post comments on your own clients' entry, such as "you're the bestest" or other back patting comments. Let the Fast 50 be chosen on merits, not on transparent guerilla attempts. Public relations already has its own PR issues with the public and media, so do we really need to partake on something that borders on unethical?

As an aside, I took down my comment section because the service I was using was crashing the site, and then replaced it with another comment company - Haloscan. Also added an RSS feed by BlogMatrix. Have to thank MNPR blog for showing the way that I could do an RSS feed with Blogger. Come on Google, pour some cash into Blogger before it becomes a has-been to MT!!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

... I Think Very Deeply

My Philosophy, Boogie Down Productions. You must love KRS-One, a master that speaks the truth.

I know that PR Opinions, among others, have written about this issue, but my opinion is a little bit different than theirs and wanted to throw it out there.

I believe that the hidden Weekend / Holiday press release is a good thing. Granted, this is just one person's thoughts, but let me explain my reasoning.

First, a company's responsibility is to the shareholder. Hiding the news means that there won't be a massive sell-off of shares. It's a form of crisis communications, and truth be told, if the shareholder is a responsible shareholder, he/she should invest a little time in keeping abreast to what is happening with the company, and make an informed decision whether or not to sell or to weather the storm.

As an aside, I guess asking investors to actually look into their stock purchases is too much - a few weeks ago, there was an article by Reuters about Nanometrics' stock doing quite well because people thought they did work in ... nanotechnology. What does Nanometrics do? Nanometrics Incorporated designs, manufactures, markets and support the thin film metrology systems for the semiconductor, flat panel display and magnetic recording head industries. Classic.

Second, as for late-night releases, unfortunately sometimes it can come down to getting approvals from 3000 people, and even though the release can get more coverage (if that's the goal) when it's released the next day, some contracts call for that day a release be issued. I came up against that before - where I wanted to hold the release for a day - but had to send out the release late in the West Coast day, so evening in the East. It wasn't what I wanted to do, we weren't hiding bad news, but the clock ran out. And, some of the PR persons in the article commented that they were up against the clock, and getting the news out as fast as possible. It's believable.

Just a few thoughts on the weekend press release and doing the holiday hideaway.

I just don't know what this world is coming to ...

Thank you Chuck D and Public Enemy for putting it so succintly ...

Burgers as bonuses - and I thought PR firms were bad.

Yes, Air Canada is having financial troubles, but what does this do for employee morale, or what is the spin for employee communications?

Better than the more typical Holiday gift - the layoff. Just this past week, AOL let go of 450 its Northern California staff, and there's nothing like getting a pink slip instead of an XMas bonus.

I should know, I had a classless start-up do that to me. But, karma was on my side for that one - they sold for pennies on the dollar.

It's a shame that the business world has come down to this - pump up the end-of-year numbers by laying off people. It shows that corporations do not care about the workers, so why should workers care about the corporations? I've seen it with corporations, public relations firms, start-ups that there is no employee loyalty anymore because there is no corporate loyalty anymore.

It's odd because I am still fiercely loyal to my first big client, and it churns and burns me up to see what has been happening to them - all that work done, all those sleepless hours, and the stock and company keeps falling.

That's the environment I try to create at POP! Public Relations - loyalty to the workers - but how loyal are employees supposed to be nowadays?

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

People From Everywhere Gather Around...

A little bit of Eazy-E in memory of the great rapper from NWA that passed at 31 from AIDS.

Very cool new tool that I used for POP! Public Relation's blog - it's an AIM Bot for Blogs - it notifies people when you update your blog with their IM.

Okay, how neat is that?!?