Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for May 2002

Tue, 28 May 2002 09:34:50 GMT

Moronic Opinions on Spam

Browsing some weblogs over the weekend I was reading Jenett.radio and came across a link to an article by Barry Dennis of NetWeb Inc. on CNET. To summarize, Mr. Dennis believes that spam is OK, doesn’t hurt anyone and we should fight for people’s rights to use spam.

Rather than simply taking my point of view on this article, I’d advise you to read the article for yourself. (There’s also some very good analysis of it online)

My take is that Mr. Diller is one of the reasons that marketing and public relations pro’s get a bad reputation. His argument is facile, and looks to me like it has been written to purely provoke response. I can’t believe he really believes what he has written. PR people who have their e-mail address on websites and press releases automatically get added to thousands of spam lists. These lists sell products and services of no interest to the vast majority of recipients. Collecting e-mail on the road now takes three or four times as long, the volume continues to grow and e-mail software rule engines struggle to manage the deluge.

Mr. Diller compares traditional direct mail with spam, but the two have little or no similarity. Spammers incur relatively no costs and I have never received porn offers in paper spam – thank god.

As the volume of e-mail climbs so too does the volume of untargeted spam. Anyone who advocates spam, is in the words of my four year old nephew, a complete muppet (FLASH warning).

Written by Tom Murphy

May 28, 2002 at 10:34 am

Posted in General

Tue, 28 May 2002 09:31:01 GMT

Ever wonder where your press packs go?

I think we may have found the answer….

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PR Navigation Hall of Shame (#1 of an occasional series)

Liberty Communications…you’ve got to love navigation that forces you to run your mouse over un-titled or coded dots in order to find your way around the site….

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Politics, spin and Public Relations

What is your opinion of ‘spin doctors’? Personally it annoys me that these ‘practitioners’ are categorized as Public Relations practitioners. Does their job specification, activities or mores mirror those of any mainstream PR consultant?

I don’t think so. Maybe it’s time to move this ‘profession’ to their own category. At least then their questionable ethics and activities would cease to taint the rest of us, who spend our time working to promote communication in legitimate ways and have to deal with the backwash from their carry on.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 28, 2002 at 10:31 am

Posted in General

Tue, 28 May 2002 09:30:27 GMT

Blogging on the agenda

In a recent series of talks I gave concerning PR on the Internet, there was a distressing lack of knowledge and awareness of weblogging among the audience. However, after doing some research on Daypop this morning I noticed that some ‘bloggers’ are indeed getting pitched by PR pro’s. I think that’s a positive development – for PR anyhow!

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When PR people become the story

My belief has always been that PR people shouldn’t get in the way of the story and by extension should do their best to not become the story. My mini-rant about ‘Political spin doctors’ earlier today is a great example of the dangers of PR people getting in front of the story. I can only reason that these people cross/annoy too many journalists so that the wronged decide to wreak some revenge. Of course I could be wrong.

Another example of a PR person becoming the story is this piece on Donna Morrisey who is the PR handler for Cardinal Law in the midst of the horrible revelations in Boston (and elsewhere). This is a very strange piece moving from positive to negative about Ms. Morrissey and including some bitchy remarks from those ‘brave’ unnamed sources – why journalists allow us to provide these comments is beyond me – but that’s another day’s rant. Have a read of the Morrisey story and see what you think. My mother always complained “but you’re never mentioned in the papers”, reading this I’m very glad!

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Marketing is about online AND offline

A study released last week by the Online Publishers Association confirmed there is a benefit to a mix of online and TV advertising.

This study is equally applicable to Public Relations, where it is already clear from campaigns I’ve been involved with, that there is a dual role between online and offline media – and of course this is extended to any 1-to-1 communication the PR campaign carries out with other audiences online.

As we’ve been saying for a long time, the Internet isn’t a replacement media – it’s a supplemental media just like radio and print, and TV and radio.

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Does size matter?

I’m sure if you regularly read the PR/Marketing press you will come across op eds written by agency owners about why large/small/integrated PR agencies are the best kind. The quality of argument in these articles makes me question the quality of the author’s work.

There was a great example of this earlier in the year on The PR Network mailing list where one week a small agency owner penned a piece (I am puposely not naming him) on why small is better and the next week a senior executive in a large agency published a line for line rebuttal.

It strikes me that if the best justification for your business is a ‘my daddy is better than your daddy’ line then what are you doing on behalf of your clients?

The simple fact, in my opinion, is that companies chose large/small PR agencies in the most part, based on the personalities they have met at those firms. PR is a people business. Good people deliver good results and poor practitioners don’t. That’s the bottom line. There is no golden rule. The core is if the PR investment is making a contribution to the business objectives it doesn’t matter whatsize or type of agency it is. On the other hand if it’s not contributing – look out….

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The chickens are coming home

Following on from the story about the Advertising groups not enjoying much return from their PR investments, Euro RSCG is announcing a widespread re-structure, combining many of the PR subsidiaries into smaller groups. The PR agencies on roster will join either Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners or Euro RSCG Tatham Partners.

Two (not necessarily relevant) thoughts pass through my brain at this news. Firstly who comes up with the naming conventions for these conglomerates?

I realize that they try and keep their traditional names or heritage, but ‘Euro RSCG MVBMS’ is absolutely ridiculous. What is that all about?

Maybe I am on my own, but I find trying to understand the holdings of these marketing services groups unintelligible – and ironically its BAD branding and bad communications.

The second thought is that while merging these agencies makes a lot of sense in terms of administrative cost and streamlining services, it does present an issue in terms of the types of new business that can be tackled by these larger entities.

The days of clients accepting ‘chinese walls’ as an argument for hosting competitive accounts under the one roof has long since gone.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 28, 2002 at 10:30 am

Posted in General

Tue, 28 May 2002 09:17:50 GMT

When PR people’s expenses become the story

Further to the earlier story on PR people becoming the story, there’s an interesting piece in the San Francisco Chronicle on how the PR costs on the new expansion project at SF International airport have spiraled out of control.  The piece states that the senior consultant has racked up fees of $500,000 (@ $275 per hour) since the Summer of 2000 and how expenses have included first class plan tickets (@ $3,948) and hotel stays (@ $550).  While this all sounds outrageous,  a spokesperson for the project has rubbished the claims saying that the PR people traditionally stay a Days Inn (@$75) and fly economy.

The truth will out no doubt.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 28, 2002 at 10:17 am

Posted in General