Monday, January 10, 2005

What about Phoenix, Bob?

Phoenix is an interesting market.

Even after practicing PR here for a couple years, I cannot put my finger on why it's a different market. Many of the boutiques here tend to practice AZ/Phoenix-only publicity, and let the larger fish in this sea go to New York, Los Angeles or other parts.

Now, we are a big city - but we are also 300 miles from other metropolitan areas (excluding Tucson). Maybe that affects us: small town mentality because we are so far away from everything else. We are also known as an Old West type city, with a few very powerful families. Now, every year I hear the same thing: as more people move in, the demographics will change. Well, I've lived here for 18 years ... and it's still an old boy's network at times.

Cities of similar size and smaller are able to support large agencices, and have vibrant PR and advertising communities. The local paper does not have a marketing or advertising column, but in the past we had some big dogs in Phoenix. In the past, these firms had offices in the metro Phoenix area: Cunningham Communications (here's a story confirming it), Porter Novelli (handling HP digital cameras and printers), and Hill & Knowlton (noted to me by a Phoenix PR service). The only multinational with a Phoenix office is Brodeur, and I had a large firm tell me that they never look to Phoenix for anything beyond vacations and high-end shows.

What brought this up? Well, GoDaddy has signed on to do a Super Bowl commercial. And, the agency they went with is NY-based The Ad Store.

So, why don't local companies go with local firms? I went with GoDaddy for hosting just for that reason: they are local, and it was important to me to support a local business. But apparently they can't return the favor.

Now, if I were in advertising somewhere other than N.Y. or Chicago, I'd be annoyed by the attitude that only the big cities can handle a Super Bowl ad. That's bullshit. Advertising is about creativity, not about where you are.

Word is that GoDaddy is also looking to begin outsourcing some of its public relations - are they going to pass up the firms in Phoenix and pay the money to a firm in NY or SF? If so, that's a sad statement to their commitment to Phoenix businesses.

There are many great ad agencies here. There are some great copywriters here that can compile great brochures. There are many great PR firms and PR consultants/freelancers here - and, yes, I mean besides POP! PR.


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