30 May 2006

10 reasons that Americans are aggravating….

They don't say "that's a bad idea," they say "that's a great idea, and I think we can enhance it by…" and then suggest something entirely different.

They produce excessively long documents that contain no information.

They spend at least 30 minutes of every global conference call running through the US features list.

Their complete inability to comprehend time zones.

They say “media outreach” instead of “ringing up a few people.”

They only have two weeks holiday a year, get into work at 8am every day, and yet fail to produce any PR collaterals of any use.

They don't get irony.

Their radio stations don’t play anything other than the Eagles, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Pink Floyd.

Consultancy side American PRs suck up to their clients to a truly toe-curling degree.

They don't drink.

They 'oversee' UK PR campaigns when the only UK media they know is the BBC, The Financial Times and “The Times of London.”

They don't get sarcasm.

They describe The Register's humour as 'irreverent' which it isn't. Irreverent humour has two characteristics - it is not funny and it is American. The Register is neither.


Their assumption that Stockholm and London are separated by nothing more than a short taxi ride.


The fact that their first comment on this post would be: “I think it lists more than 10 reasons.”

They get paid more and live in bigger houses.
Let's get personal...

Why would a senior member of the management team at Firefly - 'a leading independent European communications consultancy' (apparently) - be asking for the 'personal email address' of an equally senior employee of a large tech agency HQ'd in Seattle?

Firefly hasn't even got any offices in the US. Oh, hang about...

29 May 2006

I'm gonna have to get me one of those....

Welcome back from the long weekend. According to an industry survey almost 12 per cent of tech PR practitioners didn’t pick up their email during the weekend.

Those that didn’t will have probably only just found out that Edelman, the world’s leading independent PR company, by jiminy, has bolstered it technology standing with the acquisition of Silicon Valley based A&R Partners.

A&R Edelman will become a new technology-specific brand for Edelman, although whether that will migrate to (or have resonance in) the UK is not yet clear. What is obvious is that A&R Partners is a genuine tech PR player, and its $15 million fees (with 115 people) will swell Edelman’s technology-related coffers and credibility.

All this West Coast excitement has an impact here. Edelman is a global company and has a large UK presence – it has been a leader in the UK PR industry for 35 years, don’t you know. The company will, of course, look to expand its newly acquired client portfolio on this side of the ocean. So if any of your clients are served by A&R Partners in the US, you’d better dust off and polish up your “why best-of-breed is fabulous” arguments. Hurrah for globalisation.

25 May 2006

Palm Ayers....

Did I hear a large sigh of relief coming from the direction of Gray's Inn Road earlier today? It looks like Weber Shandwick ('the UK and Ireland's most influential PR consultancy', no less) won't have to be worrying too much about managing (or not) one of those oh so tricky client conflicts, as mentioned in the post below.

Apparently, they'll be burning the midnight Palm oil down White City way. Does this mean that a Palm is worth two in the Shepherd's Bush?

Could I be more cryptic? Could I? You work it out.
"You, boy!"

Kendall Lambeth

This won't be news to many people. Indeed, if you're in IT PR and over 25, it's a crime if you don't already know. And as punishment you'll have your head flushed down the nearest toilet while Gripper nicks your lunch money.

Yesteryear's big news of course is that Grange Hill's Danny Kendall went on to write for VNU, The Daily Telegraph and The Financial Times. He is now AOL UK's communications director. Well, Jonathan Lambeth, the child actor that is. Not actually Danny Kendall. He's a fictional character.

Lambeth's Grange Hill heritage makes him just about the most glamorous person in UK IT, and good for him in getting such a top job (and a whole lot better than ending up in EastEnders, or Zammo's locksmith company).

However, AOL bosses would be well warned to steer clear of letting Lambeth design a new AOL logo. The misunderstood artistic genius, instigator of the Speaking Wall and Radio Grange Hill, redesigned the Grange Hill badge into a rubbishy purple graphic which coincided with the series buckling under and going all crap.
The taxman cometh....

Contributed by SC

This was from my days in IT sales rather than IT PR, but hopefully it’s still interesting.

Working for Compaq (before its HP days), I was hosting a trip for clients to Comdex in the very early 1990s. Among the group were senior IT buyers from the Inland Revenue.

Having been on the West Coast for a couple of days, we flew from San Francisco to Vegas for the conference. Every plane seat had a pair of headphones on it. TheInland Revenue guy sat on his, breaking them in the process. Replacement headphones were charged at $5, which the tax man obviously didn’t feel like paying.

Wanting to listen to the film being shown, a little way into the flight he stole the headphones belonging to another person in our party (who worked for a division of Mitsubishi). Within a few seconds these two grown men were fighting over a $5 pair of headphones. Proper fighting. The IR guy lost, a fact he was very unhappy about.

The same IR guy, and his IR cronies, proved somewhat less thrifty during Comdex (back in its more functional days). They chartered a plane to the Chicken Ranch (aka "the best little whore house in Texas"). Lord alone knows what the British tax payer had to part with to reimburse their expenses from the extensive menu.

Don’t already think the IR chap was evil? Might have been coincidence but, a couple of weeks later, the very same division of Mitsubishi was subject to a full financial investigation from….the Inland Revenue.

24 May 2006

He shoots, he leaves....

Hotwire seems to have beaten the rest of the IT PR industry to inviting journos to watch England's World Cup game against Trinidad & Tobago.

However, the lengthy lead time has caused some journos to question whether or not they should accept. "The trouble is," says a VNU reporter, "they have such high turnover that your contact there has usually left before the actual event happens and you're left doing introductions all night."
Diversification II....

Pre-dating Firefly's diversification into the soft drinks market, the world's leading PR processes company, Weber Shandwick, entered the barbeque arena.

"Hurrah," shouted several senior executives at the time, "at last we have some sizzle."
Fnarr, fnarr....

Congratulations to Bite, the world's leading four office PR company, on having - albeit only for a short time - the most comical address in PR:

Bush House
Beavor Lane

23 May 2006

Mobile Eastern conflict?

It's always frustrating when you find a company putting its PR out to tender and you know you've got oodles of relevant experience but you work for one of its competitors. What can you do? Just let it go...look out for less competitive opportunities, I guess.

Or, of course, you could try and win it and covince both companies that your Chinese Walls and separate account teams will keep everything all above board and hunky dory.

Palm has been seeing agencies of late; in fact it's fairly well advanced in its pitch process. For the few that don't know, Palm make handheld devices - PDAs, Smartphones, that sort of thing - that allow you to access email on the move and a whole lot else. It's quite a lot like what Microsoft's Mobile division does...as members of the account team at Weber Shandwick would be able to tell you, as they do its PR. They'd also like to do Palm's PR, and have been in to see them a few times over recent weeks, we're told.

Of course, we understand that Microsoft and Palm are really partners - a handful of Palm's devices run Microsoft's mobile operating system - but don't believe for a minute they are not trying their very best to nick business off each other. It's co-opetition at its most competitive. They'll need to have pretty think Chinese Walls down Gray's Inn Road way.

Still, we're sure it can be managed - Palm and Microsoft aren't really that competitive after all. It's not like they're trying to manage Oracle's PR out of the same building, is it? Is it....?

21 May 2006

Off before the September axe....

IT publishing's eight hundred pound gorilla, VNU, which by the seems of things couldn't sell a Steve Jobs signed iPod at an Apple convention, is seeing staff evolve from the jungle ahead of its traditional September monkey cull.

The serial 'right-sizer' has waved goodbye to Chris Green, Computing's very own eight hundred pound gorilla, and Iain Thomson, the dry-witted ex-PR. Both have joined a 'top secret' venture at Dennis Publishing that everyone's talking about (well, straight after who'll win the world cup, Theo Walcott's girlfriend, the price of bacon, what's on telly tonight and the controversy surrounding Britain's adoption of the Gregorian calendar).

Is Dennis paying more peanuts? Or is it that Mike Magee is driving them bananas since his arrival at VNU, after the 'world's leading database company' bought The Inquirer (it can do that bit of trading capably enough) and its excellent Gutterwatch.

Either way hundreds of AEs will be having to update their Excel spreadsheets - ahem, advanced news release distribution platforms - jolly soon. Heck, that'll be a busy afternoon for them.

20 May 2006

TB writes...

Before finding myself a nice little in-house role in the late 90s, I worked for a few years at tech (knocking) shop Text 100. I still keep an eye of happenings at Text, not least because I own a few shares in the holding company, Next Fifteen Communications Group - which also owns brands such as Bite, August One, Inferno, and a fair bit of Lexis. I'm not sure what's going on, but I've noticed some senior comings and goings with the group of late...well, mostly goings.

Weber Shandwick recently made a right old fuss when it nicked James Warren out of Bite - where he'd been since the company's first opened its doors - and August One lost Sophie Brooks, its managing director; this not many months after the departure of the previous MD, Stuart Handley. Losing one might be regarded as fair enough, but surely losing two is careless?

Then I saw in the FT lastweek (you might need a subscription to see it) that Tom Lewis - alongside Mark Adams one of the Group's co-founders in 1981 - is leaving the company. Lewis had been the driving force behind taking the Text 100 Group (as it was then) public in the late 90s - not a decision popular with all, but a fair few made a pretty penny from it as during the dotcom boom its share soared to more than a fiver each. Lewis himself has resolutely hung onto most of his shareholding and still intends to. Mind you, with the shareprice now about 60p, it's probably best. It looks like he could do with the cash - despite owning the Morghew Park Estate and its many acres down in Kent, he's having to earn a crust selling spuds.

The final one (for now at least) is the departure of Andrew West from Text 100. West had been a Text 100 stalwart for a decade and a half, so maybe it was time for him to move on? Indeed according to the company-wide email from Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100's CEO, a review of the company's sales and new business function (of which West was a key member):

"...produced a unique opportunity for Andy to step out of our business completely, and it's one that he decided to seize upon"


Now, sure, West isn't the world's tallest fella but when you're telling the whole company about the departure of a senior member of the team, is there any need to take the piss?

"...his ability to charm is not just down to his ability to make friends quickly but also his reputation for going the extra mile. For a man with such short legs that extra mile was all the longer and therefore all the more appreciated."

Why not kick a man while he's down, eh? Funny, Hynes didn't mention West's departure in her deathly-dull blog, Monday Morning. Monday morning blues? Just try getting to the end of one of her posts...
Let me get back to you….soon….

“Due to our recent major expansion, we have become much too hot for our old website. A new one will be igniting soon,” brags Inferno’s website excitedly.

How soon is soon? The ‘major expansion’ was back in the early part of 2005….

The dotcom bust was tough for all tech PR agenices, but it seems some thought further outside of the box than others.

The lovely people at Firefly went so far as to opt for a whole new type of liquidity....