Yes, you read the headline right. We’ve decided to spare the life of PR’s Paul Rand.
Why? Well, as today is the Bon Festival, the Buddhist holiday to honor the departed spirits of one's ancestors, there'll be no killing. Seriously, because Rand deserves our respect. He is one of the first true mainstream PR heavyweights willing to stick his neck out and weigh in critically as it relates to the whole "traditional vs. conversational" PR debate.
So... when he released a supposed "white paper" earlier this week on behalf of the Council of PR Firms, we immediately raised the pirate flag. With muskets loaded and cutlasses drawn, we were sooooo ready to board and plunder. As you are aware, in the past, by now that vessel surely would have gone down in flame; authors Rand and Rodriguez would have been keelhauled; their children would already have been sold into internships at various conglomerates. Arrrrh!
But no. Paul’s is the voice of reason. He’s not taking a stand, per se. Read the paper carefully and pay particular attention to the last paragraph. It is a Call to Action to consider critically the state of the union and the consequence of what some are calling, “changing our DNA.”
Thou Shalt Be Careful With Thy Media Databases (Another Warning)
I truly hate to repeat myself, especially when I am communicating with supposedly intelligent people, so please excuse me while I clench my jaw and growl out (again) a request to the PR community: please be serious about maintaining proper media databases.
As you may recall, my “day job” involves the editing of a mortgage banking magazine. In the past week, I received a series of e-mailed press releases from several PR agencies that have an extremely peculiar notion of what goes into a mortgage banking magazine. Here are a few lead paragraphs from the press releases that rolled into my office:
“Philadelphia, MS – After leading in the June 12th general election with 42% of the vote, Beasley Denson has been elected Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in the runoff with 52.8% of the vote. Turnout was high for a runoff election, with 60% of the 4800 registered tribal members voting. The absentee ballots will be counted on Wednesday, but in the initial count, Denson’s victory margin appears large enough to guarantee victory.”
Obviously, today’s mortgage banking industry is extremely industry in the state of tribal politics within the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. It actually gets worse – here’s another press release that I received:
“DeRidder, LA- July 13 -14, 2007: NFL Hall of Famer Willie Brown has enlisted two dozen NFL Superstars-including JaMarcus Russell, the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft-to coach his Third Annual Football Camp. For two days in mid-July, De Ridder Louisiana turns into the football capital of the world. With NFL training camps in the offing, some of the League's best-known players come together in the tiny town (population 9,808) and teach football to 200 local kids.”
Three cheers and a tiger for Willie Brown, but how does this help my work as (yes, I will say it again) the editor of a mortgage banking magazine? And here’s another doozy that tumbled to my in-box:
“Westport, CT- Question: What do Chris Matthews from MSNBC's Hardball, Delta Burke of Designing Women, Erik Chopin of The Biggest Loser and Nick Jonas of the famous "tween"-heartthrob group, The Jonas Brothers, all have in common? Answer: Diabetes. dLifeTV, the first and only television show devoted to living with diabetes, today announced the lineup for their seventh season, which kicks off on July 15 (airing Sundays at 7PM ET on CNBC). With diabetes affecting more than 21 million Americans, diabetes awareness is at an all-time high. dLife raises the bar this season, bringing celebrity diabetes stories to the screen.”
Okay, I will admit: I am personally interested in the state of today’s American Indian communities, I like football, and I have a family history of diabetes (my grandmother died from complications relating to the disease). But, really, who were the dum-dum publicists who thought to send these press releases to a mortgage banking publication?
I also received press releases advocating holiday getaways to Smugglers' Notch Resort in Vermont (addressed to “Dear Travel Editor” – is my name Travel Editor?), the release of the book “Let Me Fly” by Mississippi author Elisa Mayo, and the Fleet Reserve Association’s 2007-2008 academic year scholarship program (anchors aweigh, mates!).
Please (pretty please), I beg you, take some time to carefully comb through your media databases to make sure the right media people are getting your news announcements. Stupid PR people who throw their press releases willy-nilly across the Internet make themselves look like fools and cast the industry as a whole in an idiotic framework.
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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