Posted by Sheryl Dickerhoof, APR Friday, January 11, 2008
This just in... Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, one of the largest ambiguous marketing firms in the world, has announced that it had formed a strategic partnership with the word-of-mouth agency, BzzAgent.
BzzAgent, Inc. is an international network of surreptitious influencers and shills. The company boasts that its process and platform helps its clients generate awareness and collect valuable customer information by enlisting the services of a virtual army of more than 370,000 otherwise incentified volunteers.
Martin Turnbull, noted PR industry analyst and chairman of the College of Communications at the Kepler School of Management said, "This is the Amyway-ization of the PR business. It gives us the dubious distinction of being the leading polluters of social interaction. Bad, bad, bad."
Experts agree that the word-of-mouth marketing contagion, WOM, has spread rapidly in recent years because of the decline of mainstream media. As a consequence consumers now trust the opinions of others more. A recent Nielsen survey found that 78 percent of consumers consider recommendations from others to be most credible.
Savvy hucksters see this trend as a highly leverageable. FACT: Since 2006, BzzAgent participants have spread word-of-mouth to more than 60 million friends and family members.
Dave Balter, CEO of BzzAgent. "Ogilvy PR is now demonstrating to the world that WOM can -- and should -- be a public relations function."
Barby Siegel, managing director of Ogilvy PR's global consumer marketing practice added: "Over the last year, word-of-mouth marketing has become an integral part of our consumer marketing offering. Increasingly, it is embedded into all client programs."
Ogilvy's expanded offering will fall under the firm's 360 Degree Digital Influence group led by John Bell.
Bell spun the alliance releasing this statement: "Word-of-mouth marketing is organic to public relations and something we are extremely bullish on. We are deeply committed to integrating this discipline into all facets of our work -- both online via digital influence and offline where most of word of mouth happens. As consumer advocacy and peer-to-peer reviews rise, it becomes even more important to our business."
One two three four we don’t want your stinkin’ war
“Don’t Tase Me Bro!” became the rallying cry of disenfranchised college students this week as one slightly unglued academic took the zap heard round the world at a John Kerry speaking event. YouTube videos of the tasing became the subject of news segments, T-shirts went on sale the next day, designer tasers were hot items on eBay. That was but one sign of the return of radicalism in America. Other signals included arrests and riot police at a boisterous anti-war rally in Washington D.C. and a march on Jena, Louisiana that was reminiscent of Selma a generation ago. It harkens back to a time when all you needed to get out your message and attract the media was adept sloganeering and a willingness to confront authority. Only now we have the power and simplicity of the Internet to amplify and sustain dramatic local news. The video Jena Six, a photo story, has been viewed 260,000 times in the past two months.
Of course, for every effective protagonist there is an equally forceful antagonist. You have Rudy Giuliani more than willing and able to step into that role. Rudy jumped all over the New York Times MoveOn.org ad attacking General Petraeus as ‘betray us’ with his own attack ad in the Times the next day as he commandeered the headlines with a sneering rebuke of the pantheon of elitist, liberal east coast media. General Bush, sensing that the story had legs and feeling frisky by the Republican slapdown of Democrats attempt to legislate an end to the Iraq war, waited a week before deeming the ad “disgusting” and insinuating that Democrats were cowards who did not respect the military.
I said it before and it’s worth repeating, Bush is the most masterful PR President we have seen. Like Rudy, he’s a fearless gut player unencumbered by intellectual self-reflection or any sense of compassion for his political enemies. In a perverse way, you have to admire Bush’s media savvy, and the fact that Rudy, a brutal media in-fighter himself, refused to be interviewed for a series of stories on him in the Times last week.
Naked and missing
Strumpette lived up to its tag as the “Naked Journal of the PR Business” last week with a bronzed nude that was definitely not Steve Rubel, the ubiquitous blogging gadgeteer. We imagine that this post elicited a rash of masturbatory activity behind walled off cubicles at PR firms and consequently lead to increased production in media pitching. There is no truth to the rumor that Playboy is planning a spread on the “Girls of Strumpette” or that Britney Spears is staging a dance routine on the episode as the cornerstone of her latest comeback. Also, we have found no proof to substantiate the rumor that it is a Photoshopped picture of Aedhmar Hynes, the MIA CEO of Text 100, who has not posted to her blog since last May.
Here now the news
Dan Rather, 75 years old, refuses to go gently into that good night. You won’t see him smiling, sailing off the Cape and reminiscing about the good old days like his predecessor Walter Cronkite. No. Dan, who apparently suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder so extreme that age cannot temper it, must embark on what may be the biggest story of his career: how CBS screwed him. When I read that Rather has hired investigators and lawyers and is suing CBS for $70 million it seemed like a petty vendetta from an overwrought has-been news Anchor.
Then I read Peter Himler’s assessment of this in The Flack and I realized how juicy this could be. If you want to know how to rob a bank, you get Willie Sutton. Who better to unveil the ugliness and political intrigue of network news than Dan Rather? What does Rather hope to prove? "I think we're going to find out just how much interference at the corporate level there is in national news stories," he told the Washington Post. In this case, did CBS sacrifice Rather to appease the global terror-hungry Cheney-ites running roughshod at the time?
When the legal dust settles, or as it unfolds, Rather should produce his own series on his findings. Rather spent 44 years at CBS. He is a bona fide investigative journalist. He’s been to war. Why is he being treated like the Bobby Bonds of TV journalism? He could distribute his expose through the web. He doesn’t need CBS to bless his legitimacy. He earned it.
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
Kathleen Durazo about A Measly $2.8 Million Goes Missing, Lawsuit Results Fri, Jul 31, 10:58:34 AM Ray Durazo (the founder) sold the company to Dan in 1999. He was not involved in any of this. He (and I) found out about the lawsuit in the LA Times. In addition to embezzling this m [...]