Archive for February, 2009


February 10, 2009

Doesn’t quite have the same ring about it as ‘Mad Men’, does it?

For those who haven’t had the privilege of either seeing my new favourite ever TV show (TM) or hearing me bore them abou the wonder that is, it’s basically a drama set in an early 1960’s New York (hence the Madison bit) ad agency.

It’s impeccably accurately stylish, sexist, anti-semitic, hierarchical and socially and sexually charged. A hugely rewarding expereince whether you watch it as someone who works in the media, someone interested in cultural history, or just Joe Bloggs who likes good TV.

I’d missed it first time, largely because it was on BBC Four, but devoured the box set. Genuine excitement descended on my portion of the sofa this evening, and this is heightened by being able to interact with the characters on twitter (originally created by fans, the profiles are now partly run by the production company.

I predict surges in applications to ad agencies of the back of the show. Fast forward a few years and witness the disappointment of realisation; “What? I don’t get my own pliant secretary, private office, and never-ending supply of whisky?”

Other than making me wish I could wear suits that well-cut to work every day, the show also made me think whether it would be possible to make such a glamorous show about life in a PR agency? Without resorting to the spn doctor or celeb agent stereotypes, could you make life look as irresistibly chaotic yet elegant, intoxicating yet structured? Where would you generate the tension; account director and AE? Frisson between big-name client procurement manager and agency head? Tension over the outcome of the well-trodden features list and new product announcement? Nah, didn’t think so.

It just doesn’t feel quite the same somehow, does it?

You can even learn something whilst watching (other than life was better in the sixties). Check this out for a pitching masterclass…



For a PR to blog, or not to blog?

February 1, 2009

It’s a tricky one. I’m sure, as readers of this blg, you’re all superstars of the industry. As such you’re working with awesome brands and organisations, and have no doubt you could be called upon by any other awesome brand, at any point in the short-to-medium future.

Great. Let’s look at the other side of the equation. As a PR you know that for a blog to work you need compelling, personal and regular content. You also knwo that 15% of all conversations are about brands (made up stat based on somethig I recently read). So, 15% of all your posts will be about brands, good or bad.

So does this possibility of imminent work with any given brand mean you shouldn’t blog about brands full stop? Yes, I know the theory “they’d respect your well-thought out criticism and appreciate they were buying indpendent advice”. But in practice the world doesn’t work that way.

So, do we need to change the way we think about how, as PRs, we express our thoughts on brands? Does it need to become a matter of conscience that you can freely express opinion, in the same way as political views are held separate to your ability or suitability as a professional? After all, holding strong (personal) Tory or Labour views wouldn’t affect your ability, and it wouldn’t be deemed appropriate to object to them.

Or should we just accept it’s tough to blog when you work in PR, and handle the need to watch your step?