Archive for September, 2010

Even Mad Men’s Don needs to be on message

Thursday, September 9th, 2010 by Jon Clements

Getting the best out of the media is easy, right? Just put on a suit, invite in a reporter, put the kettle on and wait for the journalist to hang on your every word.

Wrong. And this couldn’t be better illustrated than by Madison Avenue’s favourite alpha male and advertising industry reprobate, Don Draper, of the TV series, Mad Men. 

Series 4 of Mad Men got underway on the BBC last night with an episode suitably entitled “Public Relations” in which “Don’s secretive demeanour results in an unfavourable interview by a reporter”. Clearly, it’s not bad enough the characters are lunchtime drinking and chain smoking themselves to death.

The interview, conducted by a one-legged Korean war veteran and reporter for Advertising Age (Don’s colleague, Roger, quips about how “cheap” the magazine is, sending only “half a reporter”), has Don at his most louche and uncommunicative. When the finished article appears, Don’s personality takes centre stage,  and he’s described as probably having a Dorian Gray-style portrait slowly decaying somewhere in a loft. His fellow directors are appalled with the outcome and the fact that Don has singularly failed to “sell” their relaunched company. Don is indignant: surely it’s the reporter’s job to get the story.

Well, yes, that’s true. But it’s the responsibility of the senior company spokesman to at least influence the direction of that story.

Not every C-level executive in a company is a natural communicator and nobody is so senior that they can pass on having proper training to handle media interaction. Dealing effectively with journalists isn’t solely about managing a media crisis but maximising a media opportunity. Don’s mistake, either through arrogance or laziness is thinking that the sheer magnificence of his presence will achieve the desired result with the magazine. He says: “My work speaks for itself”.

Maybe, but don’t assume the media gives a hoot. You have to ensure you speak for your work.

Meanwhile, I’ll have another Martini…

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Google Doodles The Mystery Solved: It’s Instant

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 by Rob Brown

With the arrival of a second interactive doodle on the Google home page lots of tweets and blogs are claiming that the mystery is deepening.  The new doodle is a greyed out logo that is recoloured as you type a search. There’s another subtle difference the ‘O’ is orange rather than the classic yellow.

The reason for the new doodles however is pretty clear and it’s not a birthday celebration.  I think we nailed it at PR Media Blog yesterday, it’s a PR teaser campaign for the press conference later today.  If you don’t buy that all you need to do is check out the tweet posted overnight by Google as the new doodle rolled out.  “Our doodle is dressing up in its brightest colors for something exciting coming very soon… ”

The only mystery is exactly what Google will unveil. Speculation has been rife, Jack Schofield had some good suggestions yesterday on ZDNet and there have been others floating around.  My top four are:

1.  Google TV

Announced in May there may be a major update on Google plans to combine TV with a Chrome browser

2. Goggles/Visual Search

One of the most exciting prospects.  The use of mobile devices to perform visual searches on objects, places and perhaps even people.  Google’s Picassa already has facial recognition built in.

3.  A Music Search Function

The press events web address ends with /searchmtv/2010 could their even be a tie up with MTV.  Google is well placed to enter the music streaming market.

4.  Realtime Search

Google has been hinting at technology improvements and the Doodle’s hint at a new type of search, one perhaps that responds immediately as you type with the results changing as you add terms to the search box.  Something that “is fast, fun and interactive”.  Search innovation is the most likely but we’ll know soon enough.

Update 16.39 UTC

Looks like we were on the money again and the big story is Google Instant (with a new Orange ‘O’ in the logo) and you can access it now via this link.

http://www.google.com/webhp?sclient=psy

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann Erickson and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Kurrently searches Facebook conversations

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 by Patrick Chester

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Brands can now monitor public Facebook conversations through new search engine Kurrently. Kurrently is a search engine exclusively for Facebook and Twitter, and it works in real-time. For Twitter it’s not so special, but for Facebook, it allows brands to monitor exactly what’s being talked about in user profiles.  

This is revolutionary, as in the world of social media monitoring, Facebook has always been a “walled garden”, or a closed online network, for monitoring brand reputation. Twitter, blogs and forums are easy to access, and brand conversations can be recorded and packaged to clients (media monitoring services already do exactly that). Facebook is much more difficult to monitor however, as the social network covets its user data as much as its users covet their privacy. Kurrently will allow businesses to find out exactly how their brands are being talked about on Facebook. It will be a real boon for marketers, but perhaps to the detriment of online individual privacy. 

For everyone who is not in marketing or PR, it’s a good way to check out scandals ignored by the main press but which often catch fire on social networks (try searching for a well-known footballer, it’s hilarious).

About Patrick Chester

Patrick is an account executive at Staniforth. He also runs a book review site at www.Jungla.co.uk.

Google Doodle Mystery: The Clues

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 by Rob Brown
Today Google unveiled a new Doodle (that’s what they call the celebratory graphic logo you sometimes see on the homepage).  It is an animated set of interactive balls/circles that explode and return to form the Google letters.  This one is different from any previous ‘Doodle’ in some keys ways:

- It is interactive so you can play with it.

- There is no explanation as to what it celebrates (you can normally hover over the Doodle and click-through)

The lack of explanation is clearly deliberate as there is nothing on the Google logos page where explanations of the Doodles are normally posted. If is is a publicity stunt it’s working pretty well as the wires are alive with speculation.  Here are a few clues that may help solve the mystery.

  1. It appears on Google.co.uk and Google Germany but not Google.com or other Googles around the world
  2. There is a hidden Google.com version but its not on the main site….yet 
  3. It is different in different browsers (the balls are much larger in Chrome than in IE)
  4. Google celebrates its birthday on different days but one is September 7th
  5. September 7th is also the day the first TV camera tube picture was transmitted
  6. Google is holding a press conference at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) tomorrow (September 8th)

My best guess is that the European sites are being used as a teaser and Google.com will go live with the Doodle today or tomorrow.  The Doodle looks like modern interactive art, maybe it has even been designed by someone like Damien Hirst, so there is a link with the venue.  In short it’s a PR stunt for Google’s big announcement…I think.

Update 12.09pm

I think the difference between the Chrome and Internet Explorer versions is important.  The Chrome version is superior.  There is much debate on line about the code and the versions are written quite differently for the different browsers.   My hunch is that the press event will point up innovations with Chrome and we will see a new front open up on the Flash vs HTML5 battle. 

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann Erickson and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Media bites back with cricket allegations

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 by Mark Perry

The traditional press has shown this week that it still has the ability to ‘break’ big stories.

The News of The World’s (NOTW) exposé of a multi-million pound cricket match-fixing ring involving three Pakistani cricketers and their agent, is the latest ‘sting’ in which the traditional media seems to be fighting back  to regain the news agenda from the web.

It was interesting to see how the story developed. The first I knew about it was on Saturday evening when a Sky News sports reporter tweeted that there was a big story about to break. Less than an hour later they had an editor from the NOTW live on Sky – I’m sure the News International link helped there!

Where the modern ‘sting’ differs is use of video footage to help the story stand, posted on the newspaper’s website, video sharing sites and – for now –  made available to the broadcast media.

The story has been given even more credence with footage from the match in question which clearly shows that what was promised in the video actually happened. In one of the twists in the story the Pakistani High Commissioner even claimed that the video was filmed after the alleged incidents. The response from the NOTW was a hint that there was more to come this weekend.

Contrast this with one of the other major stories of the week and the rumours which forced William Hague to make a personal statement. The rumours had come from the web and the blogosphere and although the media knew about them they had not been published as they possibly feared crossing a legal line.

It seems likely that we will see more of what we have this week. With the NOTW going behind the paywall its ability to offer content will be vital to driving subscriber numbers and what better than seeing further footage of its latest sting.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Image makeover for Morris dancing

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 by Jon Clements

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When Sebastian Coe - record holding middle distance runner and head of London’s Olympic 2012 bid – joked about opening the next Olympics with “five thousand Morris Dancers”, was he having an ironic dig at a much-mocked old English folk tradition?

Well, even Morris Dancing is entitled to an image makeover – and it’s got it, care of artist David Owen, who is clearly trying to inject some cool into dancing with sticks, bells and handkerchiefs.

And, London is this weekend hosting a – gulp – three-day celebration of the tradition, which gets the “Critics Choice” in no less a guide to what’s hip and happening than Time Out.

Not shy of a fun, Friday feature, BBC Radio 4′s Today programme carried a piece this morning direct from London’s Southbank, with the familiar sound of Morris bells tinkling over the airwaves.

But not everyone is impressed. Take two of the Twitterati:

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and…

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It seems unlikely that we’ll be seeing Strictly Come Morris Dancing any time soon.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Why Does the Media Insist on Max?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 by Rob Brown

The Radio 4 Today programme did it again this morning; John Humpreys called Max Clifford a “PR consultant” when he is a publicist and in most people’s opinions a discredited one at that.  

The issue was a serious one; the allegations against William Hague and his decision, which incidentally I believe was a wise one, to make an early statement on the matter.  I’m not sure what expertise Clifford has in the political arena but he argued that the story would have gone away, somewhat doubtful in the internet age. 

So why does the BBC insisit on talking about serious media issues with a man who was caught lying on camera as the crew was still recording during the documentary he made with Louis Theroux?  Indeed Clifford has admitted that lying is part of his stock in trade.  Essentially it is because Clifford has become a mini celebrity in his own right.  Nevertheless I think a serious agenda setting programme like Today should seek out more serious opinions.  I have the number for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations if they ever need it.   

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann Erickson and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).