Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Golden Rules of PR

Many people say to me, 'Hey Dave - you're a marketing genius. But is there more to marketing than advertising?'

And I say, 'Not really - but there is PR.'

PR, you see, or 'Pointless Rhetoric' is the weaker, more backward, less interesting, uglier, fatter, more hated, less well-endowed, stupider sibling of advertising.

(Not if you're Kate Moss, mind. Not if you're a premium-priced luxury product. Not if you're Jordan's beaver. In those cases, PR is all the fun of the fair, plus the fun of a lot of free booze, international travel and blowjobs in limos. I imagine.)

The rest of the PR world, however, is less fun than getting your dangle-bag waxed while sitting in a bath of lemon juice. To ease the pain of their existence, PR practitioners have devised a series of shortcuts that let them produce work for their clients with minimum effort so they can focus on drinking white wine, smoking and dieting.

1. Use a celebrity.

Ever see Ruth Madoc launch Enema Awareness Week? Ever see Dane Bowers front the campaign to Save Our Semi-Colon? Ever see David Hasselhoff appear as the face of The British Fungal Infection Society? Of course.

Why? Because the kneejerkiest kneejerk of any tired PR pro is to get a celeb (any fucking celeb) to exhange their time and dignity for free booze, a new conservatory or use of the client's villa in Lanzarote for a fortnight.

They promise A-list stars to win the business then, would you believe, everyone is unavailable except the blonde one who came 187th in the Big Brother from 1843. Or Dane Bowers.

2. Make it big.

Find a prop (a cheque, a hat, a dildo - whatever) and make it big.

Make it a big cheque and have the client hand it to someone else. Take a photo. Make it a big hat. Have the client wear it, even if they're the 78-year old author of a new study into the evolution of the gerund clause in Middle English. Take a photo. Make it a big dildo. Have a group of over-70s women to grab it for the launch of Pensioners: Get Wanking, Get Healthy week. Take a photo.

Unless something is big, you see, journalists aren't interested. Possibly because they're drunker than me and simply can't see anything smaller than a horse.

3. Invent your own day.

Did you know that July 17th is National Lip Balm Day? Or that March 12th is National Vaginismus Day? Or that September 3rd is National Hold Hands For Badgers Day? Or that December 9th is National Things That Look Big When You're Far Away But Turn Out To Be Small When You Get To Them Day?

Today, in Britain, every single 24-hours is the National Day of 57,983 causes and counting. The number shows no sign of stopping. To bring the horror of this situation to the public's attention, and to capture the imagination of the press, I propose to name today, December 8th, as No More Fucking National Days Or I'll Make You Eat Your Own Feculence Day.

Easy, innit?

That's PR done. Maybe next time I'll sort direct mail out. It'll be a piece of piss.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!


  1. Right behind the collapse of "news" is the collapse of PR.

    Good riddance to both.

  2. Sure there are crap PRs out there, BUT there are also crap doctors, lawyers, teachers, and everything else.

    Your experience is unfortunate, as you have clearly dealt with agencies who suggest throwing tactics at a brief without consideration of your business objectives to develop an effective strategy. The 'celebrity card'is usually pulled first,when dealing with an inexperienced crowd, short of ideas.

    PR should never lead business. It is a support function to enhance your brand and to speak with the people important to your business. It *can* also do a helluva good job to deliver your relevant messaging and enhance sales. For example, full page product review editorial that we have secured has resulted in our clients' product lines being ranged by the biggest retailers in the country.

    Unilever grew tired of agency BS and has started to throw briefs open to Joe Public on sites such as Idea Bounty, to employ a crowdsourcing strategy, perhaps you should look at similar options?

    At our agency, we are not yes people. We will argue with you and challenge you if we disagree with you, but if you want to consider an agency that actually knows what it is doing, drop me a mail.