The blog fad and the green-eyed PR monster

Richard Bailey writes in defence of the blog following yet another swipe at the genre from CIPR chief Colin Farrington. I’m all for pragmatism.  I don’t buy the hype, but then I don’t buy the opposite argument either. 

Blogs are here to stay but like any good visitor they’ll stay alongside the original residents – in this case traditional media channels. [Aside: I abhor the MSM moniker]

I thought the comments to the post were quite interesting.  It appears there’s a few people around the blogosphere – no doubt rabid blog enthusiasts – who are dying for Edelman to fail in their new media experiment.  I don’t understand that.

Now don’t get me wrong, Richard Edelman’s recent preponderance for slipping into politics, name dropping or self-pontification isn’t something I support, but I think Edelman should be praised for their willingness to commit real resources into these new media opportunities.

They are one of very few firms that is taking the potential of online communication seriously.  Anyone working in PR and interested in online communication should applaud that – IMHO. [By the way it appears that many of Edelman’s greatest detractors are annonymous – my new policy is that there’s no link love for the annonymous]. Phil Gomes has an interesting look back at his first year at Edelman.

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Astroturfing or lazy, cheap marketing?

As you are probably aware Trevor Cook and Paull Young in Australia have done some great work kicking off an anti-astroturfing initiative. [Kami Huyse has a new post on it.]

Watching television the other night, something I do less and less these days, I noticed a television ad for Nestle breakfast cereals that included prominent signage for “Brand Power” which seemed to be some third party endorser.  It set off some alarm bells. Now this may be well known to all of you – in fact there’s a lot of links on Technorati about BrandPower – but I’d never seen it before.

A quick visit to their site and you’re hit with the message “Brand Value – Facts and Value”. 

They describe BrandPower thus:

Brand Power is an advertising vehicle used by leading manufacturers to demonstrate the features and benefits of their products. We’re not an independent body – manufacturers pay to use our service. However, all claims made in a Brand Power commercial must be legally
substantiated to ensure that they are true.

Our objective is to avoid gimmicks and hype in the promotion of products. Instead we accurately articulate key reasons a particular product is worthy
of your attention when choosing at your local store.

Indeed. So it seems Brand Power (part of the Buchanan Group) does cheap infomercial type advertising for consumer brands.  It seems that the USP is that the production is cheap and cheerful and works on the premise that consumers are suitably stupid that the term “Brand Power” will make them think that this product is more reputable than you would otherwise.  “Wow that product is being advertised by Brand Power – I must purchase it.” Yep. That’s it.

So is it astroturfing? Nope.  Just crap marketing.

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PR Opinions closes its door…

[Cross-Posted from PR Opinions] The PR Opinions blog first emerged blinking into the bright lights of the Interweb in March 2002. In the intervening four years (and over 1,400 posts), this blog has witnessed some incredibly interesting developments in the world of Public Relations and it has helped me to meet and connect with like-minded practitioners around the globe.

However, it’s time to make a change.

When I started PR Opinions there were only three other PR blogs [Jim, Phil and Richard] and I started it simply as a way to store links to interesting online PR content – 2002 style if you like. Today there are over 400 PR blogs, generating an amazing amount of content and opinions on the PR arena. PR Opinions’ raison d’etre is no longer valid.

So it’s time for a change. I’m putting PR Opinions in mothballs and moving to a shiny new blog which will continue to discuss the finer elements of Public Relations, still moan at the hype, but will also cover more diverse subjects that take my fancy.

My mother’s already changed her RSS feed subscription so I imagine traffic levels will remain unchanged. I’ve migrated all the archived PR Opinions posts and comments to a WordPress blog at:

I’ve already disabled the comments feature at due to the volume of spam.

If you’d like to make a comment feel free to leave one here.

Thanks to everyone who made PR Opinions so enjoyable, I hope you’ll stick around.

Tom Murphy

17th August, 2006


New PR Opinions Archive:

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Windows Live Writer

The latest release out of the Windows Live stable is a beta of Windows Live Writer, a new desktop application for publishing blog posts (and in the future potentially other forms of online content).

Setting aside the fact that the product is from my employer, it’s an interesting application.  It supports all the major blog platforms (WordPress, Moveable Type, Spaces etc.) and along with all the usual formatting options you’d expect, it adds a range of other useful features including the spell checker, WYSIWYG editing and the automatic capability to upload photos to your blog and then add effects to them.

For example:

It also allows you to insert Windows Live Maps and with the release of a Software Development Kit it’s likely there’ll be a raft of plug-ins released that will add even more functionality.

If you’re blogging on Windows it’s definitely worth a look.


Tim Heuer has already released two new plug-ins for Windows Live Writer. Tag4Writer enables you to add Technorati tags to your post and Flickr4Writer enables you to insert pictures from Flickr.