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Posts Tagged ‘things we don’t like’

11 Things the Media Does That Piss Off PR

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But you said you liked the pitch!!!

Last week we ran a guest listicle about the top things public relations flacks do that piss off our media contacts. We’ve seen a lot of these lists, and the whole thing sometimes feels like a bit of a one-sided conversation, so in a follow-up post we asked our readers to suggest some points from the other side of the screen. Here, without further ado, are eleven things the media does that really irritate PR.

1. Greeting pitches with total silence:

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We know you have more important things to do, but unless we’re pitching you something as ridiculous as the “woman-proof car” you could at least write a simple “No, not interested.”

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NBC Sports Radio Jokes About Sexual Assault

Good question. The account appears to be making light of this story announcing that the Florida State quarterback will not be charged due to complications in the case. In case you don’t get the reference, here’s an image of the Heisman “stiff arm” trophy:

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So the “joke”, if you could call it that, is that this QB pulled a “talk to the hand.”

To their credit, the feed’s managers quickly deleted the tweet and responded:

Good to know, but that’s still poor sportsmanship all around.

(H/T to our anonymous tipster)

Please Stop Using the Word ‘Innovation’

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Some wiseass may have proclaimed “selfie” the word of the year, but in the business world the clear winner is “innovation”. It’s not even close.

And to answer the obvious question posed in this Wall Street Journal headline: no, a chocolate peanut-butter Pop Tart is in no way “innovative”. We can think of a few alternate adjectives that might apply, though.

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Beware the Twitter Bots

Does this look like a real person to you?

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It’s not. We checked.

We know of the Twitter “bot” phenomenon because someone at some organization has created some bots that automatically share headlines from certain blogs (one of which is ours).

It boosts our Twitter numbers on screen, but it’s also more than a little creepy.

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Politico’s Mike Allen Will Reprint Your Press Release for Money

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A small bomb hit the political media world yesterday when Erik Wemple of The Washington Post insinuated that the very popular “Playbook” email newsletter, written by Mike Allen of Politico, is more a native advertising venture than a news ticker. If you want positive coverage, you just need to pay for it.

The newsletter has always accepted money from sponsors, with advertisers paying $35,000 for a weeklong promo run. The point of Wemple’s reveal is how closely the “editorial” content resembles the “paid” content. Allen is, essentially, reprinting certain advertisers’ press releases by giving hands-off coverage to their PR work. Case in point: Allen reported BP’s post-oil spill damage control campaign as news and linked to a PDF of the company’s print ad. He later linked to a video spot, and Wemple strongly implies that Allen’s friendship with BP execs facilitated this coverage (for which Politico did not charge).

The newsletter also consistently quotes press releases from regular sponsors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, writing things like:

Ahead of tax day, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce promotes its agenda for tax reform: “Renew all expiring tax rates and incentives right away. … Stop threatening small businesses with higher taxes”

The average Joe on the street will understandably say “of course the media is biased and politics is a pay-to-play game” while shrugging his shoulders at this story, but it’s big news to anyone who does PR in DC. The money quote after the jump:

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Someone Pitched a ‘Woman-Proof Car’ and It Was Bad

What, you thought all British people were naturally hilarious? Here’s the offending (fictional) automobile, complete with “a swivel seat” and “extra-large bumpers.”

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Because women can’t park or back up or avoid bumping into things. Got it. Oh, and the color is pink in order to “alert other road users; specifically males.”

It’s a sad sexist joke disguised as a pitch, but someone designed the graphic and wrote/distributed the release and answered the inevitable “what the hell is this nonsense?” responses.

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Worst Press Release of the Week? Oh Yeah.

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“One customer, Bryce Stave of ___, TX says, ‘My wife and I are ecstatic with our new garage door opener.  We put the baby to bed and don’t have to worry about waking him up when we head out to the bar.’”

OK, but what about when you and the wife stumble in after a round or three…or ten? And how many had you downed before you gave us that gem of a quote?

Brace yourselves, dear readers: you will be shocked to learn that the great state of Texas does not count “Bryce Stave” as a resident.

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GOP Spot Casts ‘Private Sector’ As Apple and ‘ObamaCare’ As PC

We never saw the Affordable Care Act as a public vs. private thing, because privately owned and run insurance companies are going to make out quite well in the end. But that’s not the point these guys want to make:

The Republican National Committee is right to jump on the content train by running this clip on The Daily Show tonight, but the production values are middling and the message is muddled beyond “government bad, business good”. Sure, the DMV sucks, but does anyone really think that “private sector” companies automatically ace customer service? Have you ever called Time Warner Cable?

And let’s be honest, since we’re speaking in the broadest possible generalizations here: which dude looks like a bigger techie to you?

Big Food Brands Spend Millions to Avoid GMO Labels

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You may have heard that, for some reason, food companies really don’t like the idea of having to let customers know if they use genetically modified organisms in their products.

It’s not like they’ve been talking to the public: a whopping 93% of us say food containing GMOs should be labeled as such. Yet Prop 37, which would have required GMO labeling on products sold in California, failed at the ballot box by a slim 2.8% margin. Why? Lobbying and spin.

Now the companies with the biggest horse in the race want to prevent a similar law from passing in Washington State. No on 522, a campaign “bankrolled by out-of-state biochemical corporations and food industry heavyweights”, just set a Washington State fundraising record, and a list of the companies involved reads like a who’s who of faceless corporate “bad guys”: Monsanto, DuPont, Dow and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a political action committee sponsored by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills, Nestle, etc.

The story earned a full write-up on PR Watch, which is worth mentioning for some key points:

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Someone at Twitter Has a Sense of Humor About Misogyny

Twitter‘s been getting a good bit of flack this week over the lack of female executives on its board, and we can’t imagine CEO Dick Costolo was too happy when this little stunt went viral from the company’s office today:

You’ll notice that quite a few Twitter employees both male and female registered their disapproval on their own service soon after it blew up via Valleywag, Business Insider and pretty much every other relevant blog this afternoon.

Then it all devolved into a conversation about whether this was a joke and, if so, why anyone employed by Twitter would think it was a good idea.

The lesson here: nothing is private and anything can affect your company’s reputation, even when it happens in the office bathroom. If only Twitter weren’t so popular…

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