Frankly, we've sat on this story. We were waiting for the next shoe to drop. Today, it did. Not a week after the announcement that the Society of Actuaries selected GolinHarris as its public relations agency of record, agency chairman Al Golin has an Op-Ed in the Bulldog Reporter today calling for more creativity in public relations.
Coincidence? We don't think so. Al has set an industry challenge and he's also going to set an example with a miracle. He's going to bring actuaries back to life. Al is going to punctuate his career with something biblical. He's preparing to reenact the Lazarus stunt.
Okay, just so we are clear... we are not talking about the wild American Academy of Actuaries, or the zany madcap Institute of Actuaries. These are their more boring counterparts. This is really really dry stuff. From a PR perspective, this doesn't have anywhere near the "sizzle potential" of The Precast Concrete Institute or The National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association. We're talking about Society of Actuaries (SOA).
What exactly is Golin going to do? From the announcement: "The agency is charged with helping lead a profession-wide branding initiative to significantly enhance the value of actuaries within the traditional and non-traditional business sectors."
Well, if that's any indication, that account is DOA not SOA. But Joel Albizo, CAE, Deputy Executive Director, Society of Actuaries echoes the agency's glimmer of hope. "We were looking for a partner that could help us to re-brand, empower our membership and undertake an aggressive public relations campaign. We were impressed with the talented team of professionals that GolinHarris brought to the table and the exciting plans they delivered in all these areas."
- An actuary is someone who wanted to be an accountant, but wasn't outgoing enough.
- What is the difference between an introverted actuary and an extroverted actuary? An introverted actuary stares at his own feet during a conversation, while an extroverted actuary stares at the other person's feet.
- What do actuaries use as contraceptives? Their personality.
- How does an actuary liven up a party? He invites an accountant.
- What's the difference between an actuary and a corpse? The corpse is typically better dressed.
- What's the difference between a sperm and an actuary? The sperm has a one
in a million chance of becoming a human being.
But of all the various perceptions, the one that stands out the most is "An actuary is someone who expects everyone to be dead on time."
Seriously, this is going to be like watching Al Capone's Vault but in painful slow motion. I'd sooner expect the agency to re-engender respect for PR. Excuse me but Lazarus ain't coming back friends. Not this time. Not ever!
So what's it all about? Two things:
1. It's an example of uncensored new business. We'll take their money and certainly try... but... we cannot control the things that will likely screw that up. And certainly we are not responsible to have to tell you that the fuck-up potential is actually greater than any chance for success. We're not God for Christ's sake.
2. It's also a good illustration of how "creativity" is a relative term. Sometimes just an ounce will change the world. And then there are other times (most of the time actually) where all the creativity in the world is NOT going to wake the dead.
Anyway, this happens all the time in PR. An agency will get a client's hopes up only to radically disappoint. Guaranteed Albizo is bumming big time this time next year. Not only is he an actuary; he's gonna be a duped actuary. That's low. But good news is there's always room in PR for an easily suggestible numbers guy with low self esteem.
I'm surprised you didn't dwell more on the news release announcing the account. It's filled with every cliche, buzz word and lame chestnut this industry is famous for. It must have been dredged up from some G/H bolierplate.
I think it was Al who began circulating this joke on internet: What's the difference between an actuary and an accountant? An actuary is someone who wanted to be an accountant but didn't have the personality.