Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for February 2004

Passionate PR (groan)

Whatever your feelings about the film itself, Mel Gibson forthcoming film, “The Passion of Christ” is utilizing a whole range of non-traditional entertainment promotion channels….

The Passion of PR Publicists (MSNBC)

Passionate PR (LA Times)


Written by Tom Murphy

February 24, 2004 at 1:04 pm

Posted in General

You charge how much per hour?

It looks like we have a winner in the most profitable lobbying account.

The Washington Post reports that a number of Indian tribes paid their lobbyist $45 million over the past three years.

Now that’s a retainer.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2004 at 1:05 pm

Posted in General

The perils of E-mail…

This is a subject we touch on fairly regularly.  The danger of e-mail when communicating sensitive information.

National Australia Bank has been having some problems recently around a Foreign Exchange scandal.  Obviously the company needed to address PR issues around the scandal, but what if the PR advice went public?

Here’s the e-mail from the Bank’s internal PR advisor to the its CEO… More analysis of the e-mail is here.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2004 at 12:59 pm

Posted in General

Some sane PR people…

At last some sane (in my opinion) commentary on the whole Super Bowl nonsense courtesy of the Lansing State Journal in Michigan.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2004 at 12:52 pm

Posted in General

Are press releases spam?

Stuart Bruce has been writing about a potential client in Europe.  The client’s legal people have challenged him that since he sends press releases electronically, it could be construed as marketing materials and therefore spam.

Whilst I personally believe press releases can’t be classified as spam (though if I were a journalist receiving 400 such e-mails a day I might have a different opinion) I think we should all take ethical steps to ensure we protect ourselves from any such charges.

Based on the recent CAN-SPAM legislation in the United States, I have added the following information to the end of our e-mailed press releases:

Company Name
Address, State, Zip

Please Note:
You are currently subscribed to “Company’s” PR newsfeed as, if you would like to be removed from this list please send an e-mail to with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line. Thank You.

Of course anyone who wants to unsubscribe is dealt with immediately and notified as such.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 20, 2004 at 9:00 am

Posted in General

Why we must embrace the changing PR world

“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”

Livy, (Roman Historian)

As I posted yesterday, the Internet has had significant change on how every PR practitioner achieves their professional objectives.

Last week I was cleaning up my office when I happened upon my first business card.  Examining it, it looked very bare and simple, then I realized why.  There was no e-mail address, no mobile phone number, no web address.  It was just a name, title, address, phone and fax number.

In the past decade we have adopted to e-mail, web sites, discussion boards, instant messaging, reality TV and a host of other innovations that impact our daily lives.

More importantly from a PR perspective, we now live in an environment where good communication is more important than ever before.  It’s a world where organizations communicate directly with their audience every day and it provides PR with great opportunities.

However, as a profession we often seem to yearn for the days when things were more simple.  We often seem to fear change.


Public Relations is about communicating with audiences.  Your job is to understand how to reach those audiences, how to deliver information to those audiences in a format that they find acceptable.  We’re not just talking about the media here. PR is about good communication to every audience, that includes customers, partners, staff, suppliers etc.

If you are not trying to reach and communicate with the relevant audiences for your organization or client, then in my humble opinion you’re not doing you job.

This post was prompted by a link provided by Constantin Basturea to a posting by Robert Scoble the Microsoft blogger. Scoble is a speaker at the Demo 2004, which is a (expensive) showcase for demonstrating new technologies.

He mentions that:

“… one of the industry’s top PR pros came up to me after I was on the panel and she said “bloggers scare the heck out of me.” Wrong way to look at it. PR is all about relationships, right? I’m sure she charges a lot of money because he knows the secret to getting five minutes with Walt Mossberg for her client, right? Well, yes, blogs can certainly mess up a good PR plan. Or, are blogs the new PR? I now have a stack of business cards from the world’s most powerful tech journalists and the biggest VC firms. It’ll be interesting to see how blogs change the work that PR professionals do.”

Blogging is not exactly a highly technical, specialized skill.  Blogging is simple web page publishing.

Why would a PR person fear blogs? Here’s a theory.

We have been trained in managing communications.  Typically, though not always, that communication is aimed at our audience through an intermediary.

That is still a valid model today.  After all the media remain a vital constituent of our practice.  However, increasingly PR people have to understand how to communicate with an audience directly. A lot of practitioners have a fear of that.

Blogging is an opportunity for Public Relations, not a threat.

Blogging provides a unique means of providing your audience with the human face of your organization. Your customers can read the actual thoughts and opinions of your staff. On the flip side, consumers increasingly want to see the human side of your organization, beyond the corporate speak.

If you don’t believe it, try it. Host a corporate blog. It works and you’ll be amazed at the positive feedback you’ll get.

The other side of the blogging movement is of course the thousands of independent people who provide their views on events and news. As these individuals garner an audience that is relevant to your company, then your job is to communicate with them.

As Livy wisely states, the more ignorant we are of something the more afraid we are of it.  Understand the changing balance of PR communication, embrace the change and get rid of the fear.

It’s your job.

PS: Why not share your opinions on the changing face of PR in our survey.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 19, 2004 at 8:33 am

Posted in General

More social networking…

Just in case you weren’t already confused with the existing array of online social networking choices, Always On (which was founded by Tony Perkins of Red Herring fame) has launched its own social networking environment.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 18, 2004 at 3:19 pm

Posted in General