Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2010

Welcome to the era of hair trigger commentary..

At first glance it might appear that Shirley Sherrod, Old Spice, and Uniball have little in common.

However, they do.

Each have fallen foul to knee jerk commentary from people who haven’t taken the time to analyze, contemplate or find out the facts before casting “informed” judgment.

It’s something we’ll all have to get used to, and it creates an ‘interesting’ environment for public relations practitioners who must deal with the aftermath of this whiplash analysis.

For the record:

  • Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign after a blogger posted an edited YouTube video that took a talk she gave on racial reconciliation completely out of context.
  • The recent Old Spice social media campaign – maybe because it was high profile -  attracted all kinds of “commentary” from people who said it was a failure in terms of sales after only a week online.  A ridiculously short period of time – oh and sales are up!
  • Uniball is a little more obscure, but the company was lambasted for pointing people to their Facebook site rather than the corporate web site as part of a high profile promotion.

In all three cases, commentators didn’t let analysis or even the facts get in the way of a good rant. Instead they took partial information and just jumped right in to give their “valued” opinion.

You see this increasingly on Twitter, with people erupting about some issue or other, only to tweet later that they were mistaken or it wasn’t true – and of course that’s the 2% that actually bother to correct it.

I posted about Old Spice last week, because I thought it was smart both in terms of its traditional, and more especially its social media execution.  It was a subjective post.

Although it shouldn’t, it does amaze me, in the case of Old Spice and Uniball, that people can call a campaign a failure without any knowledge of the objectives or the results.

Clearly this is the outcome of our always-on media environment and I’m far too old and grumpy to expect it to change.

Instead we can all expect to see a lot more of it and from a Public Relations standpoint expect to be fighting a lot more fires as a result.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 22, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Posted in General

Everyone is in the communications business…

In the past eighteen years I have attended, participated or given innumerable media training sessions.  I’ve also had the opportunity to see first hand why media training is important – in positive, negative and often entertaining ways.

Regardless of the emergence of social media, and your views on traditional media, training remains important.

Media training is useful not only to people facing journalists or bloggers, but in fact anyone in the business of communicating – which these days means pretty much everyone.

The basic tenets of media training are constant.

  • You need to prepare.
  • You need to know your audience.
  • You need to listen.
  • You need to think.
  • You need to stick to the facts.

These may sound pretty obvious, but it’s amazing how often people communicate without thinking, preparing, listening or talking about what they actually know.

My favorite media training team was always David Tebbutt and Martin Banks.  They brought great common sense, humor and a strong methodology to help countless people communicate effectively.

David recently pointed back to a series of posts he published in 2005 on how to handle the press.

I strongly recommend you click here and go and have a read. It’s always good to refresh the basics.

David has also recently published an interactive version of the methodology diagram he uses in his media training.


Take a look.


Posted by Tom Murphy

Written by Tom Murphy

July 17, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Posted in General

Smart and funny… recipe for good marketing

You’re faced with an “old” brand (which interestingly – to me at any rate -  was originally created for women in 1937) launched in 1938.  It’s a brand with a lot of baggage, particularly in a world of glossy competitors.

Rather than go the usual route, they took an alternative approach, which certainly appears to be working for them.

Funny, smart ads that don’t involved scantily clad females, and still appeal to the target demographic.

But what’s really smart is how they’re embracing social media creating bespoke videos for people who have tweeted or commented on other social media channels about the ads and about the brand.  There are of course some videos made especially for the ‘great’ and the ‘good’ (not to mention Starbucks), but there are even more for people like you and me.

Smart. Very smart.

A reply to Gail Berg’s post on Facebook…

Written by Tom Murphy

July 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Posted in General