Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2002

Tue, 30 Jul 2002 07:46:42 GMT

No negative vibes man…..
Interesting post from Phil Gomes on a story by Douglas Rushkoff in the Guardian about how his editors at the New York Times refused to publish his negative analysis on the AOL-Time Warner merger at the time because he clearly didn’t know what he was talking about! He who laughs last…

Written by Tom Murphy

July 30, 2002 at 8:46 am

Posted in General

Fri, 26 Jul 2002 16:11:53 GMT

Now I am going to kick you one more time…Apple Redux
Further to the post on how Apple is alienating its own (should that be eating?) by coming down hard on rumor sites etc., their copyright attorney’s have been busy again this time in France.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 26, 2002 at 5:11 pm

Posted in General

Fri, 26 Jul 2002 10:31:12 GMT

Sony: Money can’t buy you …. good staff
There are times when you read something and your brain informs you that your eyes are misleading you. So you read it again and still your brain rejects it.

These incidents are usually provoked by moments of such stupidity that it’s really hard to fathom what is going on and what the perpetrators were thinking.

What am I talking about? Two words: Sony Electronics.

The New York Times as you may have read has refused to accept ads from Sony that attempt to blue the line between advertising and editorial content.

Effectively Sony has put together the age-old Advetorial rubbish and tried to place them in editorial pages with little or no identification that they are in fact ads.

OK let’s take a little breather here. Does this strike anyone as innovative? breaking new ground? opening up the frontiers of marketing?

No, I didn’t think so. This is a cheap marketing activity that has happily filled the un-read pages of newspapers and magazines around the world since mass circulation started. It’s space filling and magazine ad reps have happily took people’s money from it for years. From an advertisers perspective it’s admitting that ‘editorial’ coverage has value.

None of what I have written is rocket science to any of you. I would never recommend advetorial for a client or employer because it’s only a space filler and to be honest I don’t personally believe it has much value.

But, let us hear what Sony’s Consumer ‘Marketing’ Officer, T. Scott Edwards, has to say:
“We’re breaking paradigms here. We consider ourselves a content provider — we are buying the space.”

What? Excuse me. What is this guy on? Buying ‘Advetorials’ and ‘Commercial Features’ is (ahem) “breaking paradigms”? Who talks like that? Oh I know marketing management at large companies who have lost their tenuous grasp on reality.

Is ‘T’ really trying to tell us that paying for advetorial and trying to sneak it into editorial content is the brave new frontier?

Of course it doesn’t stop with ‘T’, oh no, his ad agency is right behind him.

Let’s listen to what they, Universal McCann, have to say for a moment:
“We’re trying to blur the line between the adveritising and editorial boundary.”

Oh my lord (I am trying to reduce my use of expletives).

Well I’d would like to publicly praise the New York Times for their standards, and show these Sony ‘marketing’ people that they need to stop drinking the ‘Kool Aid’.

To end, not everyone of course agrees with the NYT’s stand, there are, as there always are, people only too happy to get their hands on some filthy lucre to help make their quarter, and hang the consequences.

Jack Haire, sales muppet executive extrordinaire is quoted as rallying his executives at Time and AOL for a plan to distribute Sony’s content. Well done Jack, never let standards get in the way of a dollar.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 26, 2002 at 11:31 am

Posted in General

Thu, 25 Jul 2002 11:44:50 GMT

The Fall of Advertising….Yeah Right
A new book from self-styled marketing guru Al Ries is titled “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR”. In the book, he states that PR is going to replace advertising as the primary ‘branding’ tool and that advertising will be relegated to defending existing brands. [Ad Age have a great article on the book here]

NOTE: I had, based on reading two reviews of this book, published some opinions on what I believed was wrong with the premise of the book. However I have removed those opinions pending a first-hand opportunity to read the book in full when it’s published next month!

Written by Tom Murphy

July 25, 2002 at 12:44 pm

Posted in General

Wed, 24 Jul 2002 11:50:02 GMT

Flash Hall of Shame #14….Cane Communications [Special Award Winner]
So I am trying out Mozilla the open source Internet browser. It’s clean and fast but I haven’t yet allowed the Flash virus to install its Mozilla plug-in. Anyhow I go to Cane Communication’s (a UK PR company) website and it tells me that I MUST install the Flash 6 plug-in to get into their site. Now this is a PR company, probably looking for clients, trying to impress journalists and you can’t get into the site without Flash. Now obviously this is the same for any completely Flash-built sute, but to add further insult to injury on the ‘no flash detected’ page, there’s no contact details, no alternative HTML information. Excellent strategy. Excellent communicators.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 24, 2002 at 12:50 pm

Posted in General

Wed, 24 Jul 2002 08:19:03 GMT

Some interesting online reading….
Catching up on some PR reading since my break I came across a very interesting article in O’Dwyers PR Daily by New York Post columnist John Crudele. The piece details how Pre-Paid Legal Services reacted to a negative piece he wrote about the company. I’d take John to task on his fifth point but it’s a very interesting read.

If you’re interested in some personal thoughts and insights into the world of technology and technology related PR and marketing, you could do worse than stop by SIPR and have a browse through Shel Israel’s It Seems to Me (ISM) columns.

Finally, CornerBarPR’s Brenda Clevenger has published the first part of a two-part piece on on-line PR. If the whole ‘on-line PR’ thing is still a little foreign it’s not a bad introduction.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 24, 2002 at 9:19 am

Posted in General

Tue, 23 Jul 2002 12:24:12 GMT

Seeing the other point of view….
As PR practitioners we’re all told to think about our work from the audience’s point of view. I came across a book review on PR Watch that provides a really interesting take on activists’ views of PR activity. It’s a review of Denise Deegan’s book ‘Managing Activism”.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 23, 2002 at 1:24 pm

Posted in General

Mon, 22 Jul 2002 16:44:43 GMT

PR 101: Anything Apple can do, Oracle can do better….

You might remember that in August last year Oracle Corporation took the brave decision to take their PR back in-house after a very successful eight year relationship with Applied Commuications.

Most high tech firms rely heavily on external PR agencies, so this move was certainly an interesting departure – particularly given the size of the PR brief.

Last week PR Week ran a story entitled “Oracle Completes Global PR Revamp”. A notable achievement in itself, but then I noticed towards the end of the story, James Finn, VP of worldwide corporate communications at Oracle was paraphrased as follows:
“Finn said the company has been dismayed with some of the recent media coverage it has gotten, which he said is unfairly negative. He said Oracle would not be as keen to work with reporters who take a one-sided view of the company.”

Now I am sure this is a mistake, because if Oracle’s VP of coporate communications actually believes that only briefing favorable media is the best way forward, Oracle could be heading into very choppy waters. Let’s hope for his sake it’s a mis-quote.

What do you think?

Written by Tom Murphy

July 22, 2002 at 5:44 pm

Posted in General

Mon, 22 Jul 2002 14:05:31 GMT

TDA Group…Muppets of the Week

One of my more interesting spams this morning was from TDA Group, expounding the benefits of tightly targeted, personalised, e-mail based direct marketing. Fine except they did it by spamming me as part of a non-targeted, non-personalized spam. Jeez. You’d never expect a company of this intellectual calliber to have a Flash intro would you? Check it out

Written by Tom Murphy

July 22, 2002 at 3:05 pm

Posted in General

Mon, 22 Jul 2002 12:29:54 GMT

Please: Patronize me, I’m a client….

OK, I have worked both sides of the PR divide, I’ve been the consultant and I’ve been the in-house PR (and am presently). From a professional point of view there are significant pros and cons of both roles and I believe that if possible PR people should try both roles so they have an understanding of the different pressures and challenges.

I came across an article today that has made my blood boil. The PR agency-client relationship, probably more than any other in the marketing discipline, relies on a close working partnership. The business world moves quickly and it’s essential that both the agency and the in-house people are comfortable with each other and confident that each is doing their jobs.

This ‘article’ (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense) is one of the most patronizing and ridiculous ‘how to’ articles I have ever read – and I’ve read a few. It throws out the ‘partnership’ ideal and instead propogates the theory that the in-house drone is an inferior being that should ‘do as they are told’.

To quote Mr. Paul J. Krupin:
“If there’s something you don’t understand, ask about it. Do you want to know why they chose a certain news angle, page format, word limit, or media list? Ask. Politely.”

Maybe I am coming at this from the wrong angle, maybe I have overdosed on spam, your can read “Super Client! Getting the Most Out of Your Publicist” here.

Let me know your thoughts, I think its absolute trash….but am open to contradiction!

Written by Tom Murphy

July 22, 2002 at 1:29 pm

Posted in General