This just in... Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations firm, and subsidiary of WPP, one of the world’s leading communications services networks, is prepping for an all-out frontal assault on the Web. According to PR industry trade magazine Bulldog Reporter, the firm is ramping up and sending thousands of U.S.-based staffers to a "Digital Boot Camp."
Like most PR agencies, B-M claims to have "experts" in digital media that have quietly set up websites, created blogs and monitored discussions on the Internet in support of client propaganda. But now the firm is marshalling its entire U.S. contingent to embrace the capability overtly. Last week, it sent staffers in offices from Los Angeles to New York through intense training. There they were briefed on an array of technical weaponry from blogs and podcasts to RSS feeds and wikis. Word is that during the hand-to-hand exercises, the hugely controversial SMPR (social media press release) was demonstrated.
Considering that PR on the Web is now by-and-large considered spam and by most accounts has been summarily rejected by the vast majority of Web 2.0/Social Networkers, experts agree that this is a grave development. Martin Turnbull, PR business analyst from the Kepler School of Management, said, "It sure looks like what they cannot get by coercion; they're going to try to take by shock and awe."
B-M claims to provide measurable business results to clients through a full range of consulting and communications disciplines: strategy development, corporate/financial, brand marketing, technology, healthcare, employee relations, media, public affairs, crisis management, advertising, Internet development and integration, and production. Burson-Marsteller companies include Marsteller (advertising, interactive, design and production), Direct Impact (grassroots marketing) and BKSH & Associates (lobbying).
Andrew M. Nibley, CEO of Marsteller, recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Our challenge is where do we put our client in this mix."
According to our sources, in the firm's Pittsburgh-area boot camp, a group of recruits was given an hour to find ways to use digital tools to create "buzz" about ultraviolet-blocking lenses made by Transitions Optical Inc.
Turnbull said, "I think they're making a serious tactical error. The Web insurgents fight this stuff asymmetrically. It's going to be a bloodbath."
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
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