This just in... The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in Johannesburg has laid out a guide to help PR people know when and when not to label press releases "Breaking" News. Considering the deluge of press announcements that are produced on a daily basis, this is an important milestone that will likely have lingering repercussion throughout the Industry.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - It's now factual certainty that beans make you "break wind," says South Africa's advertising watchdog.
A TV advert for sweet onions showed a rugby player eating beans that made him smell "stinky." The advert claims that "with sweet onions there are no tears, no burn and definitely no stink."
The country's Dry Bean Producers Organization complained about the advert on the basis that the "stinky" charge was untrue but the Advertising Standards Authority threw out the charge and said it was widely known that beans produce gas.
"It plays on an objectively determinable factual reality which cannot be denied..." the ASA said on its Web site.
Okay, come on. Considering all the absolute flatulence we in PR pass daily and then label "Breaking News" that certainly sets the record straight.
I admit, this post is silly. Certainly in light of Mr. Gallagher's most elegant piece just prior to this one, this is perhaps untimely and maybe even inappropriate.
But that said, I've got to mix it up here. All silly and I'll only have Scott Baradell reading Strumpette; all serious and Robert French will surely kill himself. It's all about balance and variety.
By mixing the content up a bit we are averaging just shy of 2,800 visitors and 35,000 hits a day. When we've taken ourselves too serious here, that number has dipped well below a 1,000.
Also, mixing it up allows for those anomalies. We will occasionally have the "Cleavage Day" stories. That got us mentioned on InstaPundit and National Review Online. That resulted in more than 16,780 visitors and 113K hits in just 4 hours. Yousa!! My IT guy nearly had a nervous breakdown. His server was literally "smoking," he tells me. It's the third time in three weeks Strumpette shut his operation down. Damn. I know I am testing our friendship. He's been gracefully accommodating. I do owe him at least one sexual favor.
Anyway, I just wanted you the reader to know the method to our madness. As we are all aware, we in the PR business have a lot of work to do with regard to credibility. We cannot do that by taking ourselves too serious when the general business population is laughing at us. That surely makes us look even more silly. Either the joke's on us or we are strong enough to acknowledge and own our foibles.
All to say that what you'll find here is a mix. To quote a compatriot of Gallagher's, "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down." Or, I'll quote my mom, "if you serve just pasta... no one will eat. But add a few balls of meat, maybe a piece of calzone, some antipasti, some fresh bread and a nice glass of red... now you've got a meal and conversation." Mom was right. That's what communications is all about.
While we're on the subject of mislabelling things...why does every press release have to say "For Immediate Release" on it? If every single one is for immediate release, then why bother even saying it? If it's not for immediate release (i don't know if these exist, i've never seen one), then why send it before it's ready to be released? Maybe i wasn't mean to understand.