Archive for October, 2007

A PR lesson – don’t lie.

October 31, 2007

We thought this one, which might have been missed in London, was worth a look. Pat Philbin the External Affairs Director for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) learnt a valuable lesson this week… PR is about media management, not about lying.

A FEMA a news conference was called in Washington last week to discuss the response to the Southern California wildfires. The briefing was called at very, very short notice, making it impossible for journalists to attend.

However when the press coverage was screened Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson, the deputy administrator of FEMA was seen fielding numerous questions from the ‘press’. The journalists in the audience turned out to be FEMA employees pretending to be journalists offering up simple questions for their boss.

FEMA later issued an apology.

Quite how the PR team thought they would get away with such a scandalous abuse of trust is another matter, but Philburn who was due to become director of public affairs for National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell last Monday, has been politely told he is no longer required.

Remember, journalists may be bad-tempered, but they’re not stupid, and are more than capable of spotting their colleagues [or not] in a crowd.


PR and Comms Network – PR Enthusiast wanted!

October 30, 2007

Are you passionate about PR, new media, Facebook and forward features? Would you like to join the PR and Comms Network team as an event organiser, a networker, a blogger and a discussion starter?

We are looking for a young PR to join us here at the PR and Comms network, to help run the group.

If you think you might be suitable and would like to get involved, please send no more than 100 words to by Friday 9th November, explaining why you would like to join the team.

Alain and Alex

So, just what is going to be announced on the 6th November?

October 30, 2007

New media bloggers have been foaming at the mouth at a potential Facebook vs. Google show down that had been scheduled for the first week of November.  Blogs like TechCruch have been trailing the ‘announcement show down’ since early September.  So, in plain ‘non techy’ language, what is going on? 

Google were widely expected to announce the arrival of Google’s new social networking utility, (nicknamed Maka-maka) which it was believed would roll all of Google’s services into one ‘facebook’ like website.  The news now is that Google will be doing no such thing and are going to wait until after the 6th November which is the day Facebook will be making a major advertising annoucement

 That advertising announcement will be the launch of Facebook’s own advertising network – little is known beyond that. However the date is good timing as it falls on the same day as AdTech , one of the largest conferences for the online advertising industry. 

Incidently, “maka” means knock or blow in Hebrew.

 Google, it seems, are now firmly in the ring with Facebook, fighting to be the platform to dominate your every waking minute.

Boozy lunch?

October 26, 2007

I feel badly betrayed.

By PR.

Well, 99% of the time that’s not true, but when it comes to the vision of a boozy Friday lunch, I feel aggrieved. Really, ask the average man in the street what a PR does ona  Friday, and they’ll tell you it’s a long lunch leading into a long Friday evening.

 But no-one I know gets to do this. Instead friday afternoon means coverage and status reports. It means preparing for the coming week. it means reading the new PR Week. It never means beer, wine, or lingering banter. After all, that doesn’t service clients.

Is this reputation actually some invention of the old timers? Similar to the golden age the Daily Mail harks back to? When people left their doors unlocked, children were safe playing several streets away, and presumably PRs went on the Friday lash? Do let me know if anyone has ever experienced this vision of past glories.

PR evaluation

October 23, 2007

PR knows that evaluation is a problem. Or is that evaluation has a problem with PR?

Who knows. Either way, I’m having a pretty interesting time working with some media buyers and planners this week, and their stats-driven focus is pretty eye opening. Their reliance on up-to-date figures and feedback is pretty instructive in the emphasis upon rigour.

Equally they find the lack of precision and subjectivity of value of any piece of editorial coverage interesting.

Other key discovery of the week? Suits aren’t de rigeur for media buyers…

PR and Comms Network in PR Week

October 19, 2007

Our very own Alex Pearmain is featured in a PR Week article this week.

His mother is very proud. 

Click here for the article…

You will need to register with Brand Republic to view it! 

More information about the next drinks event coming soon!

The Newspaper strikes back!

October 16, 2007

An interesting article over at which has ranked the ten most popular national newspapers in the UK in terms of online audience size, growth and the time spent on the sites.

The headline stat is that the leading UK nationals online are growing at three times the rate of overall UK Internet growth. The Daily Mail and the Telegraph are the fastest growing amongst the Top 10.

Love PR

October 16, 2007

Sometimes you get to spend a whole day putting into practice the fundamental point of your job. Today was one of those special days. I had a major sell-in to national business press, combined with getting another client on BBC News 24 giving comment on a topical story of the day.  Non-stop, relentless phone calls and action.

Love it.

The future’s here. And it’s wireless.

October 10, 2007

As you can imagine, overhere at the PR and Comms network, we tend to spend a fair bit fo time online.

Right now, as I type this, it’s via wi-fi in my flat. Often it is via our Nokia N95’s whilst on the train. Occasionally, but nowhere near often enough, it is in the great outdoors [which in London terms means a coffee shop]

But finally, the tipping point seems to have arrived. Not only is the iPhone coming [joining Blackberry’s and N95s as truly ‘web-enabled’ mobile devices], but the iPod touch has wi-fi capability.

Great, I hear you cry, that’s the hardware sorted, but surely wifi is still really limited?

Well, look at the recent anouncement by BT and Fon, meaning that all BT homehub owning customers can become part of a public wi-fi network, expanding coverage massively [and supplementing their wireless cities]. Then consider this McDonald’s announcement of free wi-fi in their UK eateries. Or the replacement frnachise for GNER on the North coat mainline. yep, free wi-fi, again.

Wonderful you shout, but why are you boring me with consumer-tech chat? Because this really matters for PR. Everyone has finally been dragged kicking and screaming to the point at which they acknowledge that digital matters, but it is still very much the junior relation in the print/broadcast/online triumvirate. Finally, however, the pieces are faling into place for that to be resolved.

When high-speed internet is with us 24/7, wherever we go, the only barrier remaining is for those like me, whose eye-sight doesn’t entirely appreciate the dimensions of the screens on the latest pocket tech-bling.

[Disclosure: BT are a Fishburn Hedges client]

A cautionary PR tale from the digital frontier…

October 4, 2007

Just remember, when you do anything online, it is never anonymous. even when you’re pretending to be someone else.

The Fake Steve Jobs blog [FSJ], a hilarious satirical blog on Apple’s leader, recently ripped apart the ‘One laptop per child’ [OLPC] leaders and projects. OLPC  News followed up with an article  agreeing ith the thrust of FSJ’s comments [largely that the OLPC project was deeply unrealistic].

Cue some surprise when the comments are joined by FSJ, attacking the author of OLPC News. Following some IP searches, the attack turned out to have been written by someone from OLPC’s PR agency.

Tut tut. Bad enough not being transparent in blog comments, let alone pretending to be someone else entirely. There’s only so many times you can say it, but transparency really is key. Unless you want to be the AE/AM putting your hand up and ‘fessing up to a very public embarrassment for your agency.

[I’ve been a bit Apple-orienttated with this week’s posts…can you tell I’ve just got a new macbook?!]