Archive for August, 2007

Response Source comedy

August 25, 2007

We felt this had to be shared for those who may have missed it. Every so often, reading the response sources your inbox fills up with pays off. Normally when you get coverage, but every so often, just for the pure comedy of the request. Friday saw one such moment with the following:

PUBLICATION: My Lovely Horse
DEADLINE: 24-August-2007 12:00
QUERY: Do you run a successful business? Do you like horses? How has your
horse helped you in this regard? Would you say your horse is business
aware? Would you like to see more horses in British offices? Do they
improve customer relations? What’s the best bit of the horse in business
terms? Is it the head and neck? If you had a special desk that was ten feet
tall would you sit on your horse to work? Do you think you could ever love
your horse more than you do now? Could anyone else love it more? Do you
think you could ever stop thinking about horses just for a single fleeting
moment of your horse obsessed life?

I’d love to know the story behidn this one. We laughed long and hard.

[For those who aren’t blessed by the magic of response source, it is an email alerts service for journalists to ask questions/request info etc of PROs]

PR Networking

August 24, 2007

A very interesting article in Times2 this week discussing the merits of networking which made some very big claims. 

  • 75% of US executives land new positions through contacts

  • The Legal profession gains a fifth of its new business through networking

  • The Business Network International has 4700 local groups.

The value of networking is [of course] all old news to graduate PRs who have been to one of our drinks evenings but the article provided the ideal opportunity for a shameless plus of our next event on September 6th. See here for details.

Oh and contrary to the Times article, we believe that networking in the truest sense doesn’t require a time limit per person, you don’t have to make a new business contact and you certainly don’t need to have a stack of business cards to attend. If Bill Clinton has kept notes on everyone he has met since University, well good for him. We just fancy a few drinks after work.

We look forward to meeting you.

(and just to prove we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we thought we’d put a ridiculous picture of us up.)

 

als.jpg

 

 

Starting out like a PRO

August 22, 2007

As plenty of eager grads gear up for their impending start dates, some timely comments from two of the UK’s big PR hitters.

David Brain noted his surprise at young PROs attitude towards their careers this week. Colin Byrne added his thoughts on young PR’s, having been prompted by the annual exam results fuss.

It seems both are in agreement about some aspects of what constitutes a good PRO- enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Where they appear to differ, however, is over specific knowledge. Whilst David advocates breadth and flexibility, Colin highlughts specific sectoral knowledge. Not neccessarily contradictory points, as the two are not mutually exclusive, but interesting to note the difference in emphasis nonetheless.

On this occasion, however, I’m going to give the closing words to a pretty big hitter of his time; Aristotle.

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind”

Well quite.

Social media PR survey

August 15, 2007

Here’s our public service announcement/ good deed of the week.

Mithu Mukherjee is studying for a CIPR Diploma [very conscientious and commited]. Rather than spending too much time on Youtube [we don’t know anyone who does that…ahem], she’s looking for PR bods to contribute to her social media survey.

So, if you’re feeling cheerful about summer, and want to spread the love, help out here.

Right, where’s that video of the man being sat on by the elephant again….

A PR ‘Disaster’

August 13, 2007

An anonymous PR confession 

Last Friday started as unremarkably as any other Friday in PR, a more relaxed attire, the radio blaring in the corner of the room, and scores of happy employees preparing for the weekend.  

Fridays in PR are the best things about working for an agency – there are always drinks to go to after work and it’s the one day of the week where you can take a long lunch and have that pint without feeling guilty. 

This particular Friday however, had a surprise in store. 

We all send press releases out to hundreds of journalists every day. It’s what we do. Before sending, you slave over a media list to make sure you’ve got the most up to date contact addresses, and to save yourself the burden of updating excel sheets after a deluge of bounce backs.  

You polish the story, where necessary you regionalise stats and quotes, you check, double check, and then check again that you’ve spelt all the words in the headline correctly and then…. you send. You get onto the phones and you sell in like your life depends upon it. 

Journalists know we blanket send press releases out, but an unwritten rule exists in PR – you always bcc journalists and NEVER cc. So, you fiddle with Outlook so that the bespoke media list drops into the BCC section and after a final check you send. 

Last Friday however, I committed the cardinal sin. If the CIPR kept a PR excommunication list in their leafy St James HQ, then my name would now be on it.  

Not concentrating and wanting to send the my press release out before I went to a meeting, I skipped my usually rigorous press release sign off procedure and sent the press release cc’d to my entire media list! I had just sent the release cc’d to every national business editor in the country, as well as a series of business trade magazines. If that wasn’t bad enough, I had also copied in the rest of my account team which included the account director. 

After I had overcome the feelings of nausea, I picked up the phones and begun the sell in. “oh you’re the idiot that copied us all into your release aren’t you?” was one of the nicer comments. There was a light at the end of the tunnel – most of the national journalists missed the error, mainly due to the fact that I had released the story the same day as billions of dollars, pounds and euros were being wiped off share values. ‘Another’ survey was not at the forefront of their minds. 

The trades were less polite, a couple even said they weren’t going to run the story because of the cc error. Another said it was an ‘insult’. But, I ploughed on and the more open I was about the mistake the more the story seemed to strike a chord with a few of the writers – it remains to be seen whether the story will pick up coverage. 

At the stroke of 5pm, I picked up my bag and headed to the pub. I hope I still have a job this time next week.

PR-Not really THAT bad…

August 9, 2007

You may well have read the generally amusing Cityboy column in the London Paper the other day. [Apologies for our non-metropolitan readers] Suggesting a career in PR was worse than working in an abattoir seemed harsh.

After all, there is eye candy like this to brighten your day [I’ve got reservations about ‘The Hot Hack Blog’s’ raison d’etre, but amusing nonetheless. And how many industries would see your company making videos of your away day quite like these from Golin Harris?!

Beautiful Beverages

August 8, 2007

burgerman.jpg

So, fancy winning yourself, or a talented designer you know, some cash? Read on for details from Tetra Pak

Funkycartons is challenging design talent to put the art, quite literally, into cartons, as part of the ‘Artons 2007 competition (www.funkycartons.com). There is a cool £5,000 on offer for the most creative design on a carton, and the only limit is imagination. To demonstrate just what is possible, two of the hottest street artists around – Dist and Jon Burgerman – have also produced carton art, showcasing just how creative the possibilities can be.  From today, the design community is being challenged to beat the street artists at their own ‘Artons game. Perhaps you want to impress your boss with some ‘outside of the box’ creativity? Maybe you’d like to showcase your talent in a whole new medium? Quite likely, you’re keen on the sound of £5,000 towards a dream holiday, wish-list computer, or entirely new wardrobe? Whatever you want to do, Funkycartons wants you to put the art into cartons. The ‘Artons 2007 challenge is to create a design for a carton and competition entrants can let their creativity run wild on an imaginary mineral water product. The street artists’ showcase designs, full competition details and entry forms are all viewable at http://www.funkycartons.com and the deadline for submissions is 26th October 2007.  The ‘Artons competition is open to any design talent in the UK and Ireland, and will be judged by a panel including Lynda Relph-Knight, editor of Design Week, Michael Wolff, ex-founder of design agency Wolff-Olins and street artist Jon Burgerman.   The competition has been launched by Funkycartons, an organisation set up by Tetra Pak, the leading manufacturer of paper-based drinks cartons, to work with the marketing, design and brand community. The aim is to showcase how cartons can be used as a modern packaging alternative for a wide range of beverages. With a printable surface many times that of a traditionally labelled plastic bottle, cartons enable more visibility for brand design and messages.  The advantages of cartons aren’t all visual, however.  Cartons have a great story to tell environmentally: they are predominantly made from a renewable material (wood); are an efficient use of resources; are efficient to transport; and can be recycled. With recycling opportunities increasing all the time, the whole of the UK will be covered by carton recycling facilities next year. For products which aspire to be more than just another bottle, the choice is simple… grab a funky carton.

[Disclosure- Tetra Pak are a Fishburn Hedges client. But given it involved the chance for you all to boost the bank balance and portfolio, we thought it was worth sharing!]

PR and Comms – Let’s party like its 1999 (members)!

August 7, 2007

What: PR and Comms Network Drinks

Where: Bar Polski – Holborn

When: 6th September, 6.30pm.

 

You can find more information here:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=4196982194&ref=mf

With the summer finally here to refresh jaded PROs and a new wave of PR graduates arriving fresh faced, we figured it was time we organised the next PR and Comms drinks to make the most of the sunshine.

Our first drink back in February was a small affair; to be honest it could easily have been Alain and myself regaling each other, and few others, with a great [?] line in banter

Since then the group, the drinks, and the blog have gone from strength to strength and by the time we get to the 6th of Februarys for the next drink we’ll have crossed the 2000 members mark.

Ultimately, we set the group up because we wanted to meet interesting PR and Comms people and have a few pints after work. If you feel the same then please do pop along and invite anyone else you think might be interested.

Look forward to meeting you in September.

Alain and Alex

Brand spanking new [largely PR relevant] ideas

August 1, 2007

A quick post to flag up two new ideas I stumbled across on Facebook during the last week. [ This could be an excuse to rhapsodise about the joys of Facebook, but my enthusiasm has long been evident enough, although do check out this video].

First up is new office food venture Zero. Seems a stonkingly good idea- a bit like Pret/Innocent back ‘in the day’ in terms of ethos and approach. Best of luck to them, and I’m sure they’d be keen to hear from people interested.

Entirely unconnected but intresting is Vlogyourjob. It’ll be interesting if they can convince time-poor directors and senior bods to take the time to film job summaries etc, and what the quality will be like. As a concept there are undoubtedly benefits for the candidates in being able to get more of a flavour of a potential job than in a bland, employment law restricted print summary. I’d definitely agree with Stuart that it would benefit from more content before launch, but that’s a problem every site/blog faces.

[As an aside Indigo Red/Sarah, where was our press release with quote to blog it?!]

If you do have interesting new services/products relevant for PR, do drop us a line, and if we reckon it’s any good we’ll most definitely blog it.

Finally, WebitPR’s Social Media News Release [SMNR]. A vision of the future, or niche interest? It is certainly interesting, and personally I really like the idea. It’ll be interesting to see how far take up can extend beyond tech sector, who would be more prepared for this. See Stephen’s post for a lot more details and questions.

As a weekend treat, here’s the Thriller prisoner video [also in today’s Times.] Inspired.