Recently I commented on the work of what I thought was a minority of PRs – Veet Pain In The PR Neck Rogue PRs Disappointingly, it has provoked a steady stream of anecdotes from industry folk who seem obliged to tell me about other idiotic tales and poor professionalism in the business, all of which reflect badly on us all. It really pains me to recount them, and it’s incredulous to think that the craft of great PR is being tarnished by inept operators. It’s not necessary to disclose where they are from, but it’s safe to say that the firms that pay their pay check are well known. I share two such incidents to reveal an increasing trend that might make even the Ab Fab cliché’s blush.
A marketing head of a household brand summoned a meeting to review the current work of the brand’s PR consultancy. On the morning of the meeting, everyone gathered in the client boardroom but only one person out of four from the PR company turned up who relayed that the “other three couldn’t be bothered to turn up”. I can’t believe the PR company wasn’t fired on the spot; it took some months of further incompetence before the client finally gave the PR company the boot. Why do clients carry on working with PR companies that just don’t care? Another example came when a certain brand manager was given a list of journalists who had turned up to a recent launch party which included Fleet Street’s finest. The brand manager was a cynical bod, and had been unimpressed with the turnout so decided to investigate himself and he managed to speak to thirty out of the fifty on the list he’d been given. All thirty he spoke to, on enquiring whether they had enjoyed the launch, responded by saying that they had not graced the party with their presence. Worse – they didn’t know anything about the brand. When the brand manager confronted the PR company, the publicist concerned said that it was ridiculous and the journalists were obviously lying. The arrogance and stupidity is dumbfounding. If the industry is represented by this kind of shoddy, lack lustre, incompetent and foolhardy behaviour, then I’m afraid we are all doomed.